The 2023 Celebration of Student Academic Excellence Student Showcase was held on April 26, 2023 at the Alumni Arena.
This thesis views the world through the lens of human activity: extraction, extinction, planetary cycles, human activity, waste streams, and agricultural practices are stitched together to create an unsettling view of the world—one in which the human parasite takes all and leaves behind physical and ephemeral remnants of itself. There’s a Bag Between Us aims to generate a physical and ephemeral interface between human and fungal environments. This research examines biogenic alternatives to popular building components, primarily poly-based insulation materials. Mycelium-based bio-composites can be grown to achieve similar results as polyurethane insulation without the embodied energy required by petroleum-based products. Additionally, biogenic materials engage in a cradle-to-cradle-based economic system that calls for all products to have beneficial uses beyond their initial lifespans. This work intends to understand the complexities surrounding the histories and cultures of waste and biogenic material design with mycelium.
Taking inspiration from boat construction and existing architectural precedents my project takes shape. The project features a dialogue between the structure and program that leads to the unique form of the boat house. Through the physical model making of this project it was possible to visualize how successful each iteration could be and was.
John Mark Nachbar
This project aims to visualize historic information related to the unmarked Erie County Almshouse Cemetery and bring it into the present day primarily using Augmented Reality (AR). A 3D point cloud model was developed using a custom-made computer algorithm and then transferred to AR. The project focuses on bringing awareness and memorialization to those buried in the forgotten cemetery's sacred ground using accessible consumer electronics to simultaneously interact with the point cloud model, select physical representations, and the current site conditions that obscure this history.
Jack McGowan, Nate Miller, Jingyao Wen and Zach Wiekierak
1953 saw the construction of the Skyway, a limited access bridge linking downtown Buffalo and the outer harbor; the ramps to access this highway take up considerable public space in downtown. By removing a large portion of the Skyway and its ramps, the historic terrace can be reclaimed as public space that enhances downtown Buffalo by providing opportunities to live, work, and play. The new public space will serve as a connection between affordable housing at the north end of the site and an expanded tech hub adjacent to Seneca One with recreation and shopping along the Terrace. A portion of the Skyway will be reused to become an elevated amphitheater and viewing platform. The new urban space will reference the historic terrace and view-sheds that have been lost to urban renewal while acknowledging the needs of Buffalo today.
Academia has a persistent problem with not educating students about African American history.
African American architects represent about 2% of all licensed architects. i wanted to create an experience that provoked the conversation that the school and the profession needs to play a deeper role in advocating for more young black architecture students. the studio utilized AR technology, but due to my eye condition, my goal was to make it more accessible for all to experience. the experiences consist of placing anyone that walked pass the installation, into a 3d representation of Robert T. Cole's home or Jefferson Corridor.
After being asked to create a "Rest Stop for All" on the Artpark site in Lewiston and visiting the area, I created a site mapping based on the most private and accessible places on the site. Due to the gradient language that was used to create this site mapping, I used the same gradient concept in the design of the rest stop itself. I used columns to do so, and placed them strategically more or less densely packed in order to have a space that feels both inside and outside at different points. This allowed me to also create spaces which feel more or less private and accessible, reflecting the original site mapping as well. The main "rest space" found in the center of the building has an open ceiling where people will get to just look up and forget about anything else.
This project creates a new hub in Buffalo's Eastside where horses, athletes, residents, and visitors can come together. This new equestrian center is linked to an athletic center. Health and wellness are at the center of this complex. A running track starting at the athletic center extending to the riding center offers a chance to race against horses. The riding center is also visible from the I-33 and potential new visitors. New pedestrian bridges cross the I-33 to the Equestrian Center. This proposal seeks to build strong links, strong community presence, and a unique equestrian experience.
The typical boathouse is purely functional, which results in a rigid, unimaginative massing that disregards its surrounding context and restricts people's access to the waterfront. This project asked that I create a space to host a limited number of antique riverboats in both enclosed and open wet docks, create a public waterfront space, and integrate an access ramp for placing boats into the water. In my design I wished to not only fulfill the given tasks, but also create a structure which sparks a sense of wonder and invitation. To celebrate the rich history of the Erie Canal and the housed antique riverboats, I placed the boats on display as one navigates around and through the structure. The form of the structure is heavily influenced by the many forms which water can take: waves, rapids, wakes, crests and troughs. The roofing structure flows out from the street and into the Buffalo River, as if it were water just released from a gate. By integrating water features like waves into the design, I was able to protect entrances for people and boats from potential weather. To navigate the large descent of twelve feet in elevation, there is a winding pathway which gives direct access to the waterfront, as well as a swift entrance to the boathouse. I believe the versatility of curvature allowed me to create a truly unique structure, which fulfilled its purpose and then some, using water-like forms.
Jonathan Bartol, Viyona Charan and Alexander Maccallini
The Village of Lancaster, NY, has a rich history and heritage, but in the 1960s, a fire devastated a large portion of its downtown area. Decades of urban renewal practices resulted in sprawling parking lots in the downtown core. However, there has been a recent focus on the pedestrian experience and the recreation of West Main Street. The report focuses on three project sites along U.S. Highway 20 - Broadway: the strip, the knuckle, and the hub. The report compiles the work of six groups, each given a defined project site, with the goal of improving the urban design form of the three major sites through urban design guidelines and proposed projects. The report seeks to preserve the historic character of the village and continue the focus on the user experience throughout the village. The report includes a precedent study of surrounding villages and an analysis of the historic urban form and architectural material to identify means of returning character to the project sites.
Joe Lilley, Juliette Metschl, Silvi Patel, Kashyap Preajapati and Petreen Thomas
Our team of five architects, urban planners, and real estate developers has created an urban design and development vision for a sustainable, vibrant, and equitable neighbourhood north of Charleston, South Carolina for a national competition. Our vision combines sustainable and healthy living, urban vitality, equitable development, and sustainable, resilient design. This LEED Platinum-certified neighbourhood welcomes residents, visitors, jobs, and ideas into an environmentally sensitive yet vibrant mixed-use milieu. They are also learning from the unique ecosystems of two rivers running through the new neighbourhood to create a safe, sustainable, and soothing environment to bring mental and physical wellness to its residents, workers, and visitors. In addition, our vision aims to facilitate and establish strong community connections and provide a stable neighbourhood for residents.
This examination of Lake Placid, NY looks to add to the discussion surrounding short term rentals and Airbnb's in relation to the economic and social development of the area after the COVID-19 pandemic. It must be noted that the case study location relies on a tourist based economy which heavily impacts the effects of economic and social issues. The study will look at a myriad of sources in order to best evaluate the condition of the village and will rely on a housing study done by Camoin Associates regarding the current and future state of Lake Placid. Additionally, there were two interviews that were conducted in order to better establish the issues that residents desire to be addressed. This evaluation provides a residential focused overview that voices the concerns of the local community in order to provide best practices moving forward.
What we know about slow loris venom is limited despite gaining interest from researchers and the public alike. A 2013 review "Mad, bad and dangerous to know: the biochemistry, ecology and evolution of slow loris venom" was the start of the uptick in papers released about slow loris venom. The authors hypothesized various functions for slow loris venom, such as immobilizing prey, defense against predators, defending from ectoparasites, or intraspecific defense. Here we sought to revisit these hypotheses and summarize what we have learned since this review about the form and function of slow loris venom. Each of the discussed functions have been tested in subsequent work, as well as an analysis of the chemical compounds within their venom. The benefit of an increased interest in this topic, means we are on the way to understanding the evolution of venom in mammals and how this trait emerged in slow lorises.
Examining interspecific differences in nasal cavities of primates is a popular approach to evolutionary questions. When using limited representatives for interspecies analysis, opportunities to lose meaningful variation can occur. We hypothesize that primates have faced variable selection on their olfactory regions that may result in different levels of intraspecific variation. We assessed intraspecific variation of the internal nasal cavity in two primate species: the Senegal Bushbaby (Galago senegalensis) and the West African potto (Peridicticus potto). We computerized tomography scans from Morphosource (G. senegalensis = 7; P. potto = 16), placing 20 landmarks across 4 2-D coronal slices throughout the cavity to characterize the internal geometry in ImageJ. In MorphoJ, we performed a Procrustes alignment and a Procrustes regression for covariates. Within each species, the internal slices show more variability compared to distal slices. This suggests that comparative studies should emphasize the use of multiple samples when analyzing interspecific differences.
Nocturnal primates have been well documented utilizing olfaction and auditory stimuli in conspecific recognition, but the role of vision in this function is comparatively understudied. To address this gap, I identified and measured the functionality of visual cues in the communication of the nocturnal aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis). I evaluated the comparative attentiveness to visual stimuli in six captive aye-ayes (f:5, m:1) over two gaze-tracking paradigms. In the Thatcher Illusion paradigm, most participants (n=3) exhibited longer and more frequent whole fixations when viewing non-Thatcherized images. In the Preferential-looking Paradigm, most participants (n=4) exhibited the longest whole fixations when viewing familiar conspecifics. I used Wilcoxon signed ranked tests for my data analysis. Though statistically insignificant, consistent trends suggest they use visual cues in conspecific recognition to some degree. The findings from this study may impact our understanding of the idea that during primate evolution, a trade-off between olfaction and vision occurred.
The recent proposal of H.R.3135/S.1588--Captive Primate Safety Act-- to Congress, brought to attention how little we know about the primate pet trade within the United States. Our initial hypothesis holds that states with tighter regulation on the sale and ownership of primates will be associated with fewer listings in our sample data set. We created a dataset comprised of primates for sale between June 2020 and September 2022. Using the website Exoticanimalsforsale.net and extracted information on price, location, quantity available, and the listing. We also collected information on each state's exotic pet laws. We found that the state with the most listed primates for sale was Florida, followed by Tennessee and Texas. The most popular species was marmosets followed by lemurs and capuchins. Only sixteen states were associated with all listings. Within this dataset, we found support for our hypothesis. More restrictive legislation reduces the incidence of primate ownership.
Every Time I Die, a hardcore/metalcore band formed in 1998, has given Buffalo, New York hardcore fans a strong sense of pride. Based on field research between May 2022 and January 2023 among the band's fans, I analyze the hardcore fan culture in Buffalo by exploring communal identity. According to previous research conducted by other scholars, practices in which fans engage and rules fans follow at hardcore shows vary depending on the city where the shows take place. My research builds on these insights and argues that not only locality but also hometown pride are critical elements of the hardcore music experience.
Mahasweta Acharjee, Kristen Humphrey and Vincent Lactaoen
Sirtuin deacetylases, which require NAD+ to deacetylate histones and repress transcription, can help cells respond to changing nutrient availability. In this study, we investigated whether the NAD+ dependent repressor Sir2 functions as a sensor that links transcriptional silencing to intracellular NAD+ levels. We used the yeast Kluyveromyces lactis as a model because it can't synthesize NAD+, allowing us to control the intracellular NAD+ by adjusting the amount of precursor. By doing so, we found that as available nicotinic acid decreased, intracellular NAD+ concentration decreased. We then assessed KlSir2p ability to deacetylate histones using chromatin IP and found that as NAD+ concentration decreased, acetylation increased. Finally, we found that the mRNA from Sir2-regulated genes was greater in cells grown in low nicotinic acid concentrations. We conclude that Sir2 functions as a sensor of NAD+ levels in K. lactis.
Little is known about how sound intensity is organized in the central auditory pathway. In the cochlea, where sounds are converted to electrical signals, different classes of auditory nerve fibers (ANFs) vary in their sensitivities. Recent data shows that these classes of ANFs correspond to distinct molecular subtypes, such that high-sensitivity ANFs correspond to type 1a, which express calretinin (Calb2), while low-sensitivity ANFs correspond to type 1c, which express Lypd1. We assessed how these subtypes contribute to processing of sounds by characterizing the frequency and intensity sensitivity of single units in the cochlear nucleus. We used optogenetic stimulation to determine if each unit received inputs from 1a ANFs in Calb2-ChR2 mice, or 1c ANFs in Lypd1-ChR2 mice. So far, our results suggest that 1c-receiving units have a higher threshold and lower sensitivity than the 1c-non-receiving, and 1a-receiving units have a higher sensitivity than the 1a-non-receiving.
Post-translational modification (PTM) is an important molecular switch for many cellular processes. One such type of PTM is protein arginine methylation, which is catalyzed by the enzyme family protein arginine methyltransferase (PRMT) and is evolutionarily conserved from yeast to human. In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Hmt1 is the major PRMT that is responsible for the majority of protein arginine methylation in yeast cells. Previous work has identified a number of phosphorylation sites on this enzyme but whether and how these phosphorylation events impact its function has yet to be elucidated. To answer this key question, we will generate site-specific phospho-mutant proteins of Hmt1 (either abolishing phosphorylation or mimicking phosphorylation) and test their effects on the activity and levels of Hmt1, as well as their impact on the overall yeast growth fitness under different carbon sources.
Solid tumors make up about 30% of pediatric cancers. These children have limited treatment options and patients with relapsed or refractory solid tumors have a poor prognosis due to our lack of standard, effective therapies. Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy is one strong possibility given its track record of providing long-term cures for pediatric patients with hematological malignancies. This project explores two highly expressed novel tumor-associated antigens (TAA) as CAR T-cell targets. The two TAAs selected are Survivin and LRRC15. This project will investigate the ability of three distinct types of epigenetic drugs to prime CAR T cells to improve the targeted killing of sarcoma cells. By investigating the utility of epigenetic drugs to augment Survivin/LRRC15 CAR T cell therapy for pediatric sarcomas, the long-term aim is to develop strategies to overcome limitations for CAR T cell therapy, leading to the establishment of new, curative therapeutic options.
Mitochondria act as calcium stores. Previous literature showed that expansion of polyQ causes a decrease in mitochondrial calcium storage, however, it is unclear how neuron depolarization and depletion of calcium from stores affect mitochondrial calcium levels in single mitochondria. Here,we test the hypothesis that changing the intracellular calcium level will affect individual mitochondrial storage capacity. We generated 3rd instar Drosophila larvae expressing mito-TNXXL in all neurons. Incubating these larvae in 15 mM KCl, 20 mM KCl, and thapsigargin 100 μM did not affect the level of calcium entry into mitochondria compared to untreated larvae. However, high levels of KCl (100mM) appear to increase YFP florescence and decrease CFP florescence. In contrast, Bafilomycin A (BFA) treatment caused a significant decrease in the overall YFP/CFP ratio. Taken together our observations suggest that high KCl may produce an action potential that may cause the uptake of Ca into mitochondria.
Michelle Li, Joshua Oken, Ankita Priyadarshini and Atindra Pujari
Through the process of differentiation, cells can specialize into different types with distinctive shapes and specific functions. Many fungal species undergo filamentous growth, where cells differentiate to pseudohyphal and hyphal cell types in response to environmental stresses, like nutrient starvation. Fungal species also form biofilms or mats, where communities of cells adhere to each other and to surfaces through the regulated expression of genes responsible for cell adhesion. In opportunistic fungal pathogens, like Candida albicans, these responses contribute to pathogenicity. The budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, also undergoes filamentous growth and forms biofilms/mats. Genetic screens and nonessential gene-deletion collections have identified many regulators of these processes. However, one group of genes that have yet to be systematically analyzed for their role in filamentous growth and biofilm/mat formation are genes with essential functions. We designed an approach to transfer a collection of temperature-sensitive (ts) alleles of essential genes into a strain background (Σ1278b) that undergoes filamentous growth. To date, 325 ts alleles representing all the essential processes have been introduced into the filamentous background. Ts strains were examined at semi-permissive temperatures for phenotypes in invasive growth, pseudohyphal growth, and biofilm/mat formation. New roles were uncovered for essential genes that function in processes including organization of the actin cytoskeleton, GPI-anchor biosynthesis, splicing, kinetochore assembly, and chromosome segregation that impact filamentous growth. We also uncovered a key role for the Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome protein (WASp) homolog, Las17p, in regulating the Cdc42p-dependent MAP kinase pathway (fMAPK) that controls filamentous growth. Unexpectedly, Las17p did not impact another Cdc42p-dependent MAPK pathway that controls mating and shares components with the fMAPK pathway. The tetra-span sensor of the fMAPK pathway, Sho1p, was present at reduced levels and was mis-localized in the las17-13 mutant, which might account for the specific role of Las17p in regulating the fMAPK pathway. This type of approach may improve our understanding of the roles that highly conserved and ubiquitously present essential genes play in cell differentiation. Moreover, the collection may also provide a resource for comparing essential gene function among individuals of the same species.
How novel gene functions evolve is a fundamental question in biology. Mucin proteins, a functionally but not evolutionarily defined group of proteins, allow the study of convergent evolution of gene function. By analyzing the genomic variation of mucins across a wide range of mammalian genomes, we propose that exonic repeats and their copy number variation contribute substantially to the de novo evolution of new gene functions. By integrating bioinformatic, phylogenetic, proteomic, and immunohistochemical approaches, we identified 15 undescribed instances of evolutionary convergence, where novel mucins originated by gaining densely O-glycosylated exonic repeat domains. Our results suggest that secreted proteins rich in proline are natural precursors for acquiring mucin function. Our findings have broad implications for understanding the role of exonic repeats in the parallel evolution of new gene functions, especially those involving protein glycosylation.
Splicing of pre-mRNA is an essential step in eukaryotic gene expression. Misregulation of splicing has been attributed to causing human diseases such as cancer. Splicing factors can be regulated via post-translational modifications (PTM) such as protein arginine methylation. We have recently identified Mud2, the budding yeast homolog of human U2AF65 splicing factor, to be methylated by the yeast protein arginine methyltransferase Hmt1. The goal of this project is to dissect the role of PTM on the splicing factor Mud2 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We will accomplish this by first identifying the location of methylarginines on Mud2 using a combination of site-directed mutagenesis and in vitro methylation assay. A total of six substitution mutations on potential methylarginine sites were generated in a construct that expresses His-tagged Mud2 protein. These constructs will be recombinantly purified and their ability to be methylated by Hmt1 will be tested in vitro.
Eukaryotic gene expression is a complex mechanism with a multitude of regulations. One such mechanism occurs through post-translational modifications (PTMs) on proteins that participate in various aspects of gene expression. One type of PTM that has emerged as an important regulator of protein function is protein arginine methylation. This type of modification is catalyzed by a family of evolutionarily conserved enzymes called protein arginine methyltransferase (PRMTs). In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the major PRMT responsible for the bulk of cellular arginine methylation events is Hmt1. Previous works have shown that Hmt1 itself contains various phosphorylation sites that may serve to regulate the enzyme level, activity, or both. We will test how these Hmt1 phospho-specific mutants affect the yeast growth phenotype and molecular changes these mutants may impact. The results obtained will allow us to establish the importance of phosphorylation in the regulation of Hmt1 enzyme.
Metal-organic polyhedra (MOPs) have shown recent promise for applications ranging from gas separation to biomedicine. The molecular nature of these species suggests solubility in organic solvents is possible, yet many MOPs are insoluble, including zirconium-based architectures (ZrMOPs). Despite their attractive features-including high yielding syntheses, predictable topologies, high stability, and tunability-problematic solubilities have caused ZrMOPs to be under-studied and under-applied. To tune the solubility of ZrMOPs, the building blocks can be functionalized such that the self-assembly process is not hindered. Using a classic tetrahedral ZrMOP with a 1,4-bdc ligand as a parent structure, a new series of ZrMOPs was synthesized with benzyl-, vinylbenzyl, and trifluoromethylbenzyl-pendant groups decorating cyclopentadienyl moieties. The series was fully characterized and the effects of node functionalities on ZrMOP solubility were quantified using ICP-MS. For certain organic solvents, e.g. DMF, solubility could be enhanced by ~20x in the functionalized cage when compared to the unfunctionalized analogue.
Chronic illness, while a broad medical term, refers to individuals who have conditions that require ongoing medical attention and limit day-to-day activities. The decision to disclose one's illness can be a sensitive issue. Disclosure can be influenced by a range of factors, including perceived risks and benefits and the individual's goals. However, due to the stage and severity of one's illness, managing privacy can be difficult. The present study critically examines examples of personal experiences living with chronic illness using an autoethnographic approach. By taking extensive notes and keeping records of doctors' appointments, interactions with specialists, and post-appointment reflections over the past four years, I contribute to broader academic discussions on chronic illness and its complicated relationship with privacy management, stigma, and resilience. Results provide both theoretical and practical implications, while also shedding light on the experience of managing chronic illness in personal, professional, and medical settings.
The waste problem in the U.S has only intensified in recent years, first due to China's national sword policy and then to the COVID-19 pandemic. One solution to this problem is to encourage people to adopt pro-environmental behaviors such as opting for reusables and products with plastic-free alternate packaging. In this study, we employ the value-belief-norm theory to examine whether its proposed causal chain predicts consumers' willingness to use reusables and products with plastic-free alternate packaging. We also explore the moderating role of perceived behavior control, one of the strongest predictors of environmental behaviors. Our research provides support to the value-belief-norm theory in predicting behavioral willingness. The moderating role of perceived behavior control provides additional insight into the theoretical model and furnishes practical implications for strategic communication designed to encourage the adoption of reusables and alternative packaging.
In light of growing public and scholarly concerns around the role social bots play on social media, multiple studies have attempted to compare the discourse promoted by bots and non-bots. These studies often resulted in researchers attempting to reach conclusions about the influence of bots on communication processes such as political polarization and the spread of misinformation. In this study, we argue that the reliance of most work in this area on aggregated scores of binary classifiers for bot detection may have yielded biased or inaccurate results. To test this possibility, we systematically compare the differences between non-bots and bots using binary and non-binary classifiers (separated into groups such as astroturf, self-declared, spammers, fake-followers, and other), on two Twitter corpora, about COVID-19 vaccines (N = 1,697,280) and climate change (N = 1,062,522). We find that both in terms of volume and thematic content, the use of binary classifiers may hinder, distort or mask differences between humans and bots, that could only be discerned when observing specific bot subgroups. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these findings.
This dissertation uses Kant's four moments of the beautiful as a loose framework for attempting to specify some of the characteristics of aesthetic experience as I understand it. I locate one particular moment of the aesthetic in each of my four authors. Joris-Karl Huysmans and Tom McCarthy each give what I consider to be negative examples of aesthetic experience, insofar as their respective protagonists unsuccessfully attempt to control or "curate" their experience according to their tastes. On the other hand, Marcel Proust and Rachel Cusk give positive examples: Proust's narrator shows a sensitivity to the aesthetic in terms of its accidental and unprecedented nature, and Cusk's narrator is sensitive to the paradox that takes place between the intensity of a discrete moment and our feeling that it is disconnected from a larger narrative. Through readings of these four authors, I articulate an image of aesthetic experience that foregrounds the importance of chance, unpredictability, and atmosphere.
This paper exploits an education policy in India generated by a 2010 schooling reform to examine the effect of education on women's family planning decisions. The key element of the reform was that it required students to complete eight years of primary education (age 6-14 years). An instrumental variable difference-in-difference approach is used that measures the exogenous variation in treatment intensity in different states across birth cohorts measured by birth year and birth months. The reform led to an increase in education, a delay in marriage, postponing sexual activity and reduced fertility beginning at the age of 22. The paper also examines the pathways through which increased education affects fertility. The findings suggest early use of modern contraceptives, reduction in the marital education gap, increased literacy and utilization of healthcare services contribute to reduced fertility. These results are consistent with women having greater control over their fertility decision and increased empowerment thereby highlighting the importance of the policy efforts of the government to employ in their effort to promote education.
The problem today is that there is both a lack of Holocaust education in America and resistance to institute Holocaust education, which have negative implications for our country. I suggested that the best way to connect Millennials and Gen Z to the Holocaust is through film. Films do not discriminate against illiterate or uneducated Americans and align with the trend of these generations' attitudes toward electronic entertainment. This film would necessitate being historically accurate, ideally PG-13, and malleable. What I mean by this is that the film could easily be repurposed or adapted to change with criticism. I would suggest having this film be divided into segments. Thus, if any objections would prevent the film from being shown in a school, teachers could either omit the segment entirely or allow a new director to pick up the troublesome chapter and adapt it to modern satisfaction.
Gloria Anzaldúa concludes her 1987 multilingual poem "To live in the Borderlands means you" with: "To survive the Borderlands / you must live sin fronteras / be a crossroads." This ending prompts the question: "How can we both live without borders (Anzaldúa's provided translation of "sin fronteras") and be a crossroads? The both-and dynamic connotes an approach to the politics of in/visibility and il/legibility that asks us to consider how altering public spaces, like the US-Mexico border and immigrant detention centers, concomitantly alter our perceptions of the concepts and systems they represent. By turning to public art and engaging with language, this article examines what happens when queer feminist artists extend Anzaldúa's words to address imperial violence. I use Cassils' & rafa esparza's 2020 co-led skytyping project In Plain Sight as a case study, which worked with 80 artists to skytype a range of phrases above US detention centers and to offer a form of counter-mapping. By focusing on In Plain Sight, this article analyzes: how transmedia works complicate spatial, textual, and geopolitical borders; how an activist call-in and -out may be simultaneously articulated; and how features of embodied practice shape our understandings of queer feminist worldmaking.
Qingqing Chen and Boyu Wang
Disasters have been a long-standing concern to societies at large. With growing attention being paid to resilient communities, such concern has been brought to the forefront of resilience studies. We propose a novel framework utilizing network analysis and concepts from disaster science (e.g., the resilience triangle) to quantify the long-term impacts of wildfires. Taking the Mendocino Complex and Camp wildfires - the largest and most deadly wildfires in California to date, respectively - as case studies, we capture the robustness and vulnerability of communities based on human mobility data from 2018 to 2019. The results show that demographic and socioeconomic characteristics alone only partially capture community resilience, however, by leveraging human mobility data and network analysis techniques, we can enhance our understanding of resilience over space and time, providing a new lens to study disasters and their long-term impacts on society.
Mangrove forests have witnessed significant changes resulted from anthropogenic and natural disturbances. Although a few attempts have been reported, effective methods that can repeatedly generate large-scale mangrove maps on a timely basis are still lacking due to the difficulty in gathering sufficient training samples in large geographical areas. In this study, we developed an automatic training sample collection method for large-scale mangrove mapping by extracting unchanged mangrove samples from a historical mangrove map. Additionally, to better leverage the collected samples, we developed 32 classification models by varying training samples, input data, classifiers, and study sites. We found that our developed automatic training sample collection methods performed well (user's accuracy >97%). Inter-annual NDVI combined with geometric restrictions warranted the effective extraction of unchanged training samples. The Positive and Unlabeled Learning algorithm and the combination of Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 are recommended. We envision our methods will contribute to various large-scale mapping tasks.
Tari Civerolo, Joseph Cook, Hannah Krull and Celia Lynch
GGS 498 Gender and Sexuality: Write Now is a course in the Global Gender and Sexuality Studies department which facilitates the development of critical discourse concerning the statuses of gender and sexuality on a global scale as they intersect with and relate to other social, cultural, bodily, and economic experiences. Over the course of a semester, students formulated their own research questions and explored gender and/or sexuality as they relate to: Space and Place, Health and Wellness, and Status & Access to Economic and Cultural Resources. They used this research to produce an article to be published in the forthcoming departmental journal Gender and Sexuality: Write Now.
Our research delved into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) and the current laws and policies to address MMIW. Underreporting and inaccurate statistics make this crisis hidden. While reviewing documents, we found a lack of awareness for the Haudenosaunee or Six Nations. Accurate statistics can result in increased funding for MMIW, enhanced awareness, better policies, and legal changes. Indigenous women who are missing or murdered are invisible because their cases fall into jurisdictional cracks. There is no recourse for their families to follow for justice. Changes in policies and laws could help the MMIW crisis. In 2016, the Urban Indian Health Institute completed its landmark survey, reporting 5,712 missing Alaska Native and American Indian women and girls, compared to only 116 registered in the Department of Justice database. This literature review can inform future research on laws and policies for accurate reporting and the impact of regulations on MMIW.
The topic of regional variation in sociolinguistics is a well-researched, well-attested phenomenon. There are many forms of variation than just phonological, including lexical, morphosyntactic, and semantic variation. Of these, perhaps the most under-explored form is semantic variation. Much work has been done in crosslinguistic semantic variation, but semantic variation among regional dialects is an underexplored area of semantics and sociolinguistics. One aspect of semantic variation is the study of change of state verbs, especially those of "cutting" and "breaking". This study explores the use of various verbs of "cutting" and "breaking" for two dialects of Argentine Spanish, Bonaerense and Cordobés. It includes an exploration of methodologies, seeking to apply a multidimensional scaling analysis to detect patterns of variation in the verbs used by speakers to categorize cutting & breaking events. Preliminary analysis suggests that there may be merit in this technique of analysis.
This presentation is a linguistic landscape of Koreatown in Dallas, TX. Linguistic landscaping is the photography of written language in public areas. This is often done on a minority language, i.e. a language that is not the main language of the area. The photos are then analyzed to determine whether the language serves a decorative purpose (e.g., Irish Gaelic on a sign in an Irish pub where everyone speaks English) or a functional one, like Korean in Dallas. Recently, a 1.5 mile strip of land with a wide array of Korean businesses has earned the designation of "Koreatown". With the photographs I took myself, I hope to show that Dallas' Koreatown is an example of how speakers of a minority language can use its written form to create an authentic Korean experience for visitors, and a "home away from home" for members of the Korean community.
Ultra-short pulses are pulses whose width is of the order of 10^(-15) seconds and much smaller than the carrier frequency. In nonlinear birefringent fibers, ultra-short pulses can be mathematically described as solutions of the complex coupled short-pulse equation (ccSPE). The ccSPE admits a variety of solutions: fundamental solitons, fundamental breathers, composite breathers, and self-symmetric solitons which are special cases of composite breathers. In this presentation, we will discuss what (fundamental) solitons and (fundamental/composite) breathers are, and we will present plots to illustrate their differences. Moreover, we will discuss the various types of soliton interactions in the ccSPE. Our work reveals that interacting fundamental solitons retain their nature, while when a fundamental soliton interacts with a fundamental breather, it always becomes a fundamental breather. Conversely two fundamental breathers generically yield two fundamental breathers but may also result in a fundamental soliton and a fundamental breather.
An online harassment campaign entered the video game community discourse in 2014, targeting women involved with making or critiquing video games. This campaign quickly turned into a larger debacle that also targeted B/I/PoC and other marginalized people within the gaming community. Alt-Right influencers and figureheads coined the phrase #GamerGate and began using it as a platform to spread messages of sexism, racism, antisemitism, and white supremacy. #GamerGate became a successful testing ground for the Alt-Right, and the actions used to infiltrate the gaming community became widespread both online and off, gradually entering general public discourse. My research addresses the Alt-Right influence on #GamerGate and the rhetoric used to entice people to believe in its values. It also examines the influence of parasocial relationships with Alt-Right figureheads and how these cultivated relationships lead to stochastic terrorism, causing violence to those in marginalized communities both online and off.
Paul Dewan and Aishwanya Kanchi Rangarath
Biomolecular condensates formed by liquid-liquid phase separation play vital roles in the subcellular organization of life processes. Many RNA Binding Proteins (RBPs) contain intrinsically disordered prion-like domains (PLDs) that encode thermodynamic driving forces for phase separation of the protein in a sequence-specific manner. Aberrant condensation of prion-like RBPs has been implicated in neurological disorders, making understanding the formation and regulation of PLD condensates of key importance. Here we show that ligand binding provides a potentially novel pathway to regulate PLD phase separation. We employ state-of-the-art fluorescence microscopy and temperature-controlled optical microscopy to quantify the ligand effect of multivalent synthetic peptides on the prion-like domain of FUS (FUS-PLD) condensate biophysical properties. Our results suggest that designed peptide ligands can confer tunable phase behavior of FUS-PLD with predictable alterations in the dense phase properties. Our study will pave the way for regulating aberrant prion protein condensates in cells.
Nonlinear many body systems in one dimension, i.e., chains, are well known to be notoriously challenging to study. Dynamics in several systems have been examined. The so-called Toda system with exponential interactions between the particles turns out to be solvable when periodic boundary conditions are imposed. The system, however, becomes quite intractable in the absence of the periodic boundary conditions. Presence of even a single impurity introduces novel features in the dynamics of such a system. The studies were carried out using extensive dynamical simulations. We show that the presence of an impurity in a system held between fixed ends can lead to two different chain regions with time independent unequal average kinetic energy/particle or with different effective temperatures. The work raises the possibility of development of highly effective heat barriers.
Tharun Selvam Mahendran
Tau undergoes liquid-liquid phase separation to form dynamic biomolecular condensates that facilitate microtubule (MT) assembly/stabilization in neurons. However, Tau is also well known to form amyloid fibers that are linked to Tau dysfunction in several neurodegenerative disorders, collectively known as Tauopathies. In this study, we show that solution conditions that promote Tau phase separation also accelerate Tau amyloid formation from liquid droplets, indicating an apparent interplay between these two processes. However, the thermodynamic driving forces underlying Tau phase separation are distinct from that of amyloid formation. We demonstrate that naturally occurring small molecule metabolites can stabilize Tau liquid-like condensates in a dose-dependent manner abrogating Tau amyloid formation and preserving the ability of Tau droplets to catalyze microtubule assembly. We propose that disruption of pathologic Tau condensate maturation while maintaining physiologic Tau phase separation is paramount for abrogating toxic gain-of-function and keeping Tau function intact from the perspective of neurodegeneration.
A look at how the strength of the top-quark Yukawa coupling affects top-quark pair production at the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is presented. We utilize the program HATHOR to calculate the complete cross sections for the processes of qq -> tt~ and gg -> tt~, incorporating multi-loops calculations within the context of Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD). One-loop electroweak (EW) corrections which introduce sensitivity to the Higgs sector of the Standard Model (SM) are also considered. We examine the impact of higher-order corrections on collision results to enhance the accuracy of our findings. By improving the precision of our cross-section calculations, we increase the probability of identifying discrepancies with current predictions within the framework of the SM.
The Standard Model (SM) of particle physics describes our current understanding of three of the four known fundamental forces in the universe, electromagnetic, weak and strong forces, though it isn't complete. Currently, gravity is not explained in the SM. Alongside gravity, there are many other questions that require answers, such as Dark Matter. The presence of Dark Matter in the universe motivates the study of extensions to the SM called the Dark Sector. This sector may contain new forms of matter and new forces. Among them, millicharged particles (mCP) may appear, these are particles, which carry a small fraction of the electric charge of the electron. The observation of such particles would be a major paradigm shift. In this study we will discuss the theoretical framework and will obtain predictions for possibly observable experimental signatures of mCPs.
Our lab uses near field THz microspectroscopy to observe vibrations of atoms in proteins, and provides information about structure and conformation which requires crystallized samples. We are interested in the structural changes of proteins that occur as a result of binding to ligands and inhibitors. I have been working on a method to bind lysozyme crystals to their ligand, 3NAG that can be reproduced experimentally without damaging the crystals, so they can still be measured. Our goal is to eventually use what we know about lysozyme-3NAG binding as a reference to understand the more complex TIM protein and its conformational changes when bound to different molecules.
Early studies of peace in political science focused on ending and preventing conflict. Though a first-order condition to peace, scholars have exposed numerous ways this absence of conflict is insufficient for quality peace. I focus on how conflicts can cause continuing damage even after they have officially ended. Conflict is often cyclical, but not all conflicts are the same. The organization of rebel groups, their resources, and who they recruit all affect the amount of violence -- especially towards civilians -- committed in a conflict. The economic environment, which is typically destroyed by conflicts, trafficking networks established to fund rebellion, and fragile institutions make post-conflict countries vulnerable to organized crime. With a conflict ended, reintegration must begin, with societal attitudes presenting significant challenges. Using quasi-experimental methods, I examine how illicit economies can cause levels of criminal violence that rival or exceed the levels of violence witnessed during a conflict.
Leah Emery and Omeed Tartak
Individuals may falsify their responses on personality assessments to influence legal or forensic outcomes, thus making these assessments invalid. The MMPI-3 and CAT-PD are self-report psychopathology assessments with validity scales designed to detect biased responding. Data on the effectiveness of these scales in identifying biased responding, however, are limited for the MMPI-3 and non-existent for the CAT-PD. In this study, a simulation design will be conducted to determine the success of the MMPI-3 and CAT-PD validity scales in distinguishing simulating from honest responding. Participants will be randomly assigned to respond honestly, feign psychopathology (overreport), or deny psychopathology (underreport). It is hypothesized that overreporters will produce higher scores on overreporting scales and underreporters will produce higher scores on underreporting scales. Additionally, strong convergent validity is expected between MMPI-3 and CAT-PD validity scales, and classification accuracy estimates will be calculated and compared against manual cutoffs.
Acetylcholine plays a significant role in reward learning and attention. This is relevant to the study of substance use disorder (SUD), because these learning processes underlie the incentive properties of a broad class of reward-related cues, including drug-cues. Cue-reactivity can be measured in laboratory animals using Pavlovian conditioning. In this study, acetylcholine function was modified in the brain using virally delivered proteins and the conditioned response to Pavlovian reward-cues was measured. When acetylcholine neurotransmission was activated, the cue-reactivity was altered in complex ways that may be related to individual differences between subjects. These results suggest potential avenues for future studies into the function of acetylcholine and SUD treatment.
Cue-responsivity strongly influences behaviors motivated by food and drug rewards. In rats, a Pavlovian conditioned approach is used to measure cue-responsivity, where cues predict the delivery of a food pellet. Rats that approach the cue are called "sign-trackers," while those that approach the food cup are called "goal-trackers." Studies have shown that sign-trackers have increased reactivity to cocaine and cocaine-associated cues compared to goal-trackers. However, it is unknown whether a similar relationship exists between cue-responsivity and methamphetamine. The response to cocaine and methamphetamine was tested in rats identified as sign- or goal-trackers, hypothesizing that sign-trackers would be more sensitive to these drugs. Drug-induced locomotion and ultrasonic vocalizations were measured showing sign-trackers producing more cocaine-induced USVs and not differing in cocaine-induced locomotion. Our ongoing methamphetamine study will determine whether this drug has similar effects as cocaine and whether reactivity to drug-related cues can predict potential future drug abuse.
The U.S. leads the world in opioid-related deaths. Research has shown that smokers are significantly more likely to abuse and are more susceptible to overdosing on opioids. In fact, of those in treatment for an opioid-use disorder (OUD), 80-95% of individuals are users of nicotine products. Recently, we have demonstrated that rodents exposed to acute nicotine administration significantly facilitates opioid self-administration and promotes the development of compulsive-like opioid seeking, however, it is unclear which brain regions nicotine acts in to elicit such behaviors. Male and female rats were intracranially infused with four different doses of nicotine (8-320 nmol) or vehicle in either the insular cortex or dorsal lateral striatum, prior to 4-h fentanyl self-administration sessions. Our results reveal a strong statistical trend (P = 0.09) for increasing dosage of nicotine infusions into dorsal lateral striatum to facilitate fentanyl self-administration, but no measurable effect was observed in the insular cortex.
This study sought to examine the concurrent and prospective associations between triadic friendship involvement (i.e., three youth who are involved in a friendship with each other) and psychological outcomes (depressive symptoms, loneliness) during early adolescence. Two moderators of these associations will also be examined: triadic friendship stability and adolescent gender. Participants were 271 (50% female) Grade 6 young adolescents from two public middle schools in the Greater Buffalo, NY area. Self-report measures of loneliness and depressive symptoms were completed, and friendship nominations were obtained at two time points: Fall of Grade 6 and Fall of Grade 7. It was hypothesized that triadic friendships would be positively correlated with loneliness and depression, with girls (versus boys) and those with instable (versus stable) friendships reporting higher loneliness and depressive symptoms. Some hypotheses were supported (e.g. significant main effects for loneliness were found) while others were not (no significant gender effects were found).
This project seeks to understand how melatonin affects the development of drug-seeking behaviors, known as sign-tracking and goal-tracking, related to food cues in a Pavlovian Conditioning approach paradigm, as well as how melatonin affects the production of cocaine-induced Ultrasonic Vocalizations (USVs). Sign-tracking refers to an individual's desire to interact with a cue, while goal-tracking refers to an individual's desire to approach the site of reward delivery. The distinction between the two is significant because sign-trackers have been known to engage in more impulsive and addictive behaviors. By studying melatonin's effects on the development of sign-tracking and goal-tracking, it can be determined if melatonin affects reward-seeking in general, or if its impact is cocaine-specific. By observing the cocaine-induced USVs, it can be determined if melatonin alters the subjects' acute responses to cocaine. The results may lead to potential therapeutic effects in using melatonin for cocaine-related substance use disorder.
elonging to multiple groups is a universal experience; however, what happens when members of a group act in objectionable ways that cannot be supported? This study tests how people balance wanting to be part of successful groups while simultaneously wanting to withdraw from objectionable groups. Participants (N = 256 college students) are assigned to be members of two teams and engage in two math competitions, one for each team. Participants are randomly assigned to (1) be on combinations of winning/losing teams and (2) see chat content from one team that contains either neutral content or an offensive slur. Participants then report attitudes toward their teams. I hypothesize that participants will have more positive attitudes towards teams that win versus teams that lose, unless offensive chat content is present. When offensive chat content is present, participants will have more negative attitudes toward the offensive team than toward the neutral team.
Emotional intelligence (EI), defined as the ability of an individual to detect and manage emotions, has been linked to auditory emotion recognition. However, the relationship between EI and pitch imitation has been less explored. The current study seeks to investigate the relationship between EI and both auditory emotion recognition and imitation. The study will be a correlational design. College students were recruited to participate in a series of tasks assessing their proficiency in recognizing emotions and imitating pitch. Participants were also assessed for their EI level through a self-report questionnaire. An individual's EI is expected to predict their ability in correctly recognizing auditory emotion and accurately imitating pitch. In other words, individuals with higher EI are expected to perform better on auditory emotion recognition tasks than individuals with lower EI. Individuals with higher EI are also expected to perform better on pitch imitation tasks than individuals with lower EI.
Access to cannabis in the United States has expanded in recent years. While many states have legalized cannabis for medical usage, it is still classified as a Schedule I substance. This contributes to the lack of clinical research on its efficacy. This nation also has a long history of racial disparities in access to healthcare which has lasting health consequences for certain minority groups and has led to a distrust of the medical system. However, there has been very little research on equity in access to medical cannabis and what factors are associated with barriers to access. Thus, some cancer patients may not have access to legal cannabis due to their social determinants of health (SDoH) which may lead to negative health outcomes. The purpose of my project was to explore how SDoH may be associated with cancer patients' access to cannabis.
Past research examining kama muta (feeling moved) suggests it is a universal emotion, evoked through the intensification of the communal sharing relationship (Zickfeld et al., 2019). Conversations about a personally meaningful topic provide the opportunity for this intensification. However, this may only occur when the interaction partner is listening well (Kluger & Itzchakov, 2022). The current study predicted that as listening quality during a conversation increases, so would kama muta experience. This was examined through a correlational study where two participants interacted over Zoom. Each participant was assigned the role of the speaker or listener. Speakers discussed a personally meaningful experience while listeners engaged as they would in an everyday conversation. They were then asked to report their perceived listening quality and kama muta feelings. The results showed speakers' perceptions predicted some aspects of speaker's kama muta while listeners' perceptions predicted all aspects of listener's kama muta.
Instructors in foreign language classrooms are increasingly incorporating culture-focused lessons into their course planning. The present project argues that such lessons are critical for meaningful learning by students, and it offers as an example a unit lesson plan organized around Mayan culture and art. Using the work Viva la Vida by Frida Kahlo, the way in which art can be used in a lesson to deliver relevant and important cultural information is demonstrated. This includes the symbolism of watermelons in Mayan culture, and how that is preserved in modern-day Mexican tradition. Additionally, the lesson ties in grammatical concepts and vocabulary to be practiced by the students. This lesson was designed by using the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages' "can-do statements" to create goals for the student based on what the instructor finds to be a necessary takeaway. This lesson could be edited for any level of instruction.
Jamison Garcia Ramirez
The phonetic correlates of gay-perceived speech in Spanish have not received the same level of attention as in English, with even less attention addressing bilinguals' perceptions. In order to bridge this gap, 16 Puerto Rican bilinguals in Western New York were recorded via Zoom in two separate guises: one speaking normally, and one in their best imitation of a stereotypically gay male. Acoustic phonetic information relating to /ɾ/ and /s/ realizations, as well as formant and duration values for vowels, were extracted from the recordings and later analyzed. Results indicate that all participants used at least one variable to index a gay identity, and that these variables also have a connection to a clear speech style. Additionally, Spanish dominant participants made use of /ɾ/ realizations to convey a gay identity, something unattested for gay speech in English, and a pattern that the English dominant participants did not follow.
Most studies on population health in China have treated Household Registration Status (hukou; classified as rural or urban) as a straightforward socioeconomic or geographic factor. Rural hukou, in particular, is often seen as a risk factor for poor health. However, drawing on institutional theory and using hypertension-related data from the 2015 China Health and Retirement Study (CHARLS; N=13,744), this study attempts to show why and how hukou should be conceptualized as an institutional determinant, which moderates the influences of other social factors on health outcomes and disease management. Using a series of logistic regressions, I estimate associations between socioeconomic status (SES) and several hypertension-related outcomes, and test how these patterns differ by hukou. Results show that people with rural hukou are not necessarily more disadvantaged health-wise. Rather, socioeconomic patterns of hypertension prevalence and management differ across hukou type, reflecting the distinct institutional contexts of urban and rural hukou holders. Treating hukou as a simple socioeconomic/geographic predictor of health can mask critical factors shaping pathways between social characteristics and health disparities, and thus result in misleading conclusions and ineffective policy recommendations.
This study uses 2018 data from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) to answer these two questions: 1) Which cognitive domains drive changes in cognition among older Chinese people? 2) Which types of social activities affect which domains of cognition among older Chinese people? Using a network analysis approach, this study highlights that episodic memory (specifically word recall and delayed word recall) and fluid ability (specifically number series) are two central cognition domains among older Chinese adults. Regarding the relationship between social activities and cognition, this study indicates that solitary activities, specifically using the Internet and stock investment, are positively linked with all cognition domains. Moreover, all types of social activities including informal, formal and solitary activities are positively associated with working memory. These findings could help individuals, their families and medical providers pick interventions to improve later-life cognition.
Since the 1990s, gentrification has significantly changed neighborhood socioeconomic characteristics. Under recent scrutiny are its implications for crime, as some scholars have posited positive effects of gentrification on crime, while others have found negative effects. In this study, we combine nine years of data from the American Community Survey and the Buffalo Police Department to examine the association between gentrification and crime within and across census tracts in Buffalo, New York. The results show that ever-gentrified tracts have higher initial crime rates compared to never-gentrified tracts, but gentrified tracts have a steeper decline in crime over time. Within a given tract, changes in gentrification status are also associated with reduced crime, such that years in which tracts are gentrified have lower crime rates than years in which they are not, independent of the general reduction in crime over time. Further, among gentrified tracts, years leading up to gentrification are marked by a decrease in crime that accelerates upon gentrification. Implications for criminological theory and general crime trends are discussed.
Kiara Cieslinski, Rachel Emerling, Lowden Flower, Alisa Guiffrida, Amanda Healey, Olivia Lopez, Alex Nanfro, Nicholas Taboni, Madison Temple, Nina Tucker and Fallon Tulholski
This project is about the women's rights movement throughout both past and present time periods. It portrays the stripping of women's rights in historical times and how these rights are still potentially being taken away today. The movement in the presentation starts out free and flowing, with the performers wearing bright colors. As the music changes, the performers change into a more Puritan-like outfit: long black skirts and high white blouses. This change affects their movement, becoming tighter and sharper, representing oppression. As the music changes once more, the performers strip off their clothes, leaving them in white undergarments. The removal of the Puritan-like outfits represents the time period of today, where the women's rights movement has made some progress but are still fighting for their rights.
"Entropy," is a live movement piece telling the story of a young woman who must make a choice. Taking place in its own utopia, this journey embraces community, romance, and dreams. When the character is faced with a decision, the audience experiences both outcomes of a singular choice; a dream pursued, or a dream abandoned. "Entropy," uses dance to capture the human experience, and narrate a story about possibility. "For every path you choose, there is another you must abandon," (Joan D. Vinge).
Despite its ability to rewrite cultural hierarchies through performance, the dance field remains largely unengaged in sustainability activism. This cross-disciplinary, multi-media choreographic film project investigates the human ecology, sustainability, and performance intersection through a site-specific exploration of human-landscape interaction. By choreographing the dancer as intrinsically part of the landscape, the project considers and encourages a cultural paradigm shift away from man/nature dualism as it evolved from Cartesian mind/body dualism in favor of integrated understandings of environmental interconnection. When we resist the view of landscape as for human use, we can reach more holistic understandings of sustainability. This project is supported by a Public Humanities grant.
Haley Chizuk, Alexander Rawlings and Jaffer Sayeed
Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) its a protein involved in neuronal maintenance. Expression is directly correlated to physical activity; athletes are likely to have higher baseline BDNF. Research has suggested salivary BDNF concentration may be used to monitor athletes post-concussion. This study aims to identify the link between salivary BDNF and recovery from sports-related concussions.
28 healthy and 32 concussed participants provided saliva samples weekly for three weeks. Participants were separated into high and low intensity exercise groups. Bradford's Assay and an Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) were used to assess saliva samples. Methodology for the ELISA was optimized through lyophilization and acidification.
Results and conclusions currently pending, but will be available at time of presentation. We expect to see levels of BDNF to decrease in all groups, but the decline in high intensity group to be slower.
The purpose of this study was to compare the fracture strength of single lithium disilicate implant-supported crowns fabricated on two-piece abutments with various materials PEEK, zirconia, and lithium disilicate. Materials and methods: Thirty-six implants (Conical connection, 4.3 in diameter and 10 mm in length; Nobel Biocare, USA) were embedded in acrylic cylinders in the vertical position. An implant replica was placed at site maxillary left central on a typodont. Thirty six abutments were manufactured from the designe using 3 materials; each 12: A) zirconia (IPS e.max ZirCAD Prime; Ivoclar Vivadent Inc.); B) lithium disilicate (Ivoclar Vivadent Inc., IPS e.max CAD; Ivoclar Vivadent Inc.); C) ceramic-reinforced PEEK (BioHPP, Bredent). The designed crown was used to mill and process 36 lithium disilicate crowns. They were luted on the assigned hybrid abutments using a resin cement (Multilink; Ivoclar Vivadent Inc.) under a constant pressure. Then, they were subjected to dynamic loading in a computer‐controlled dual‐axis chewing simulator (Chewing Simulator CS‐4; SD‐Mechatronik, Westerham, Germany) for 1,200,000 loading cycles. Specimens were then assessed for screw loosening and incipient fracture visually and under low power (50×) stereo‐magnification. Specimens were then subjected to static load using a universal testing machine (MTS 858 mini bionix II; MTS Systems Corporation) at an angle of 30° degrees to the implant axis with a crosshead speed of 2 mm/min until failure occurs. All specimens were examined under stereomicroscope (DinoXLite; Dunwell Tech Inc.) (50×) to determine the mode of failure. One-way ANOVA (SPSS for Windows v16.0; SPSS Inc.) followed by a post hoc test was used to assess the effect of abutment material on the fracture strength of single implant-supported restorations. Results: The data showed a significant (P = 0.0058) mean yield load of PEEK (1235.25±120.21 N) and LD (1471.67±164.11 N). However, there was no significant (P>0.05) difference in the yield load between other test groups. The most common mode of failure was deformation of the screw and/or implant connection of the titanium base. None of the specimens in ZR group showed failure in the crown-abutment complex, while PEEK and LD had failure occur in the esthetic abutment-crown complex in combination with deformation of the screw. Conclusion: PEEK abutment with lithium disilicate crown might not be the material of choice to restore an implant in the anterior region. Its use should be limited to low-risk situations. Lithium disilicate exhibited catastrophic failure in both the abutment and the crown, hence, should be used with caution. Two-piece zirconia can be used safely as a custom esthetic abutment.
Kevin Lin and Abigail Romano
Purpose: To evaluate the fracture strength of zirconia (Zr) and titanium (Ti) implants. Materials and Methods: Forty-eight screw-retained Zr crowns were fabricated and assembled on four implant systems, with 12 in each group. Two groups featured titanium implants, and two groups featured zirconia implants. Specimens were subjected to dynamic loading for 1,200,000 cycles. Fracture strength, measured in Newtons (N) using a universal testing machine. Mean fracture values were compared at a significance level of 0.05. Results: The average fracture strengths for the titanium implant groups were 1207N and 1073N. This was significantly higher (p<0.05) than the zirconia implant assemblies (712N and 571.6N). However, no significant difference was found between the Ti or Zr implant groups. Conclusions: Zr implants have the potential to withstand the average physiological occlusal forces which occur in the anterior and premolar regions; however, they should be used with caution for patients presenting parafunctional habits.
Increasing the number of underrepresented minorities with a particular focus on Black students selecting a STEM career path is vital to the advancement and economic growth of the country. Using structural equation modeling (SEM), this study explored the extent to which SES, self-concept, and math utility influence course selection patterns of 9th graders, using math IRT scores as mediating variables to predict if a Black student will select a STEM major upon postsecondary entry. Public data sets of the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09) were used to analyze characteristics of 9th-grade Black students' family backgrounds, math placement, and interest in pursuing a STEM major in college. The full SEM model predicted the direct association of SES, math utility, and interest with math IRT scores and 9th-grade math course placement and Black students' selection of a STEM major.
Although bullying is recognized as having adverse impacts on students, there is a lack of research on the role of bullying within the larger school context. This study investigated if students' experiences with bullying influenced how students viewed what peers deem as acceptable in school (i.e., perceived social norms), and if these impacted perceptions of school climate (i.e., quality and character of school life). A sample of 790 high school students completed surveys about bullying victimization and perpetration, perceived peer attitudes about bullying, sexual harassment, and bystander intervention, and school climate. Results indicated perceived social norms positively predicted, and bullying perpetration and victimization negatively predicted perceptions of school climate. Social norms mediated the relationship between bullying and school climate; students' experiences with bullying negatively influenced perceptions of peers, which influenced perceptions of school climate. Findings have implications for improving school climate by targeting bullying behaviors and students' perceptions of peers.
Get ready to level up your critical thinking skills with unplugged, tangible, and embodied games! My research uncovers the power of using games like tic-tac-toe and Rubik's cube to boost self-efficacy and develop Computational Thinking (CT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) skills in underserved and marginalized children. By focusing on affordability, equity, accessibility, and affordances of embodied games, this methodology is perfect for resource-crunched schools serving marginalized and underserved communities in the US. With a Collaboratory/participatory learning approach, children in grade 5 can develop model strategies and decision-making skills that foster a foundation of logical and critical thinking skills. Furthermore, the design intervention creates socially and ethically aware children who understand the implications of AI and can appreciate both its potential benefits and pitfalls. Come along for the ride, and let's explore the exciting world of CT and AI through the power of embodied games!
Research on academic probation is a critical piece in the study of undergraduate student retention in higher education. This mixed-methods study aimed to : 1) establish differences between academic units in rates of probation and return to good standing; 2) explore the experiences of students on probation; and 3) to use these data to inform policy at higher education institutions. Quantitative analysis of data from the University at Buffalo's student reporting system was used to establish differences by academic unit in probation and return to academic good standing. These data then drove the sample selection for qualitative interviews with undergraduate students at the University who have been on academic probation with a goal of understanding student/institution interactions. This project informs a more nuanced, student-solution-focused academic probation policy and sheds light on current practices that help students toward academic success versus those for which resources would be better deployed elsewhere.
Most ADHD interventions aim to improve students' academic or behavioral problems, instead of social or emotional skills. This is problematic because ADHD-related social and emotional difficulties can have a lasting impact on students' lives. The purpose of this study is to examine the effectiveness of a new intervention, called The OutSMARTers (Social, Mind, Affect, and Resourcefulness) Program. The OutSMARTers Program is a 10-session intervention which targets social skills, emotion regulation, and impulse control. The program will be conducted in two local elementary schools. The goal of this study is to determine whether The OutSMARTers Program is effective in improving students' 1) ADHD symptoms, 2) ADHD symptom-related impairments, 3) emotion regulation, and 4) social skills. Effectiveness will be determined by evaluation of pre-, post-, and (three-month) follow-up intervention scores on validated parent and teacher-report measures. If effective, The OutSMARTers Program could become a widely implemented intervention for children with ADHD.
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines are the foundation for discovery and technological innovation. To meet the increasing demand for STEM occupations, ensuring students' success in STEM education is vital in today's U.S. Women are widely viewed as an underrepresented group in STEM. However, their persistence in STEM fields has received less attention. Using nationally representative data from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002), this study examines the associations between environmental support, learning experiences, self-efficacy, and STEM bachelor's degree completion to explore the factors influencing women's persistence in STEM majors. The results show that self-efficacy is a particularly influential factor for women's STEM degree completion, while not for men. Also, the findings emphasize the influences of past achievement and high school teacher support on improving women's self-efficacy and STEM persistence. This research contributes robust evidence and significant implications for schools, educators, policymakers, and future studies.
Giambattista Davis and Kubra Say
As first-generation students are the first in their families to attend college, they may face unique challenges during the transition to post-secondary education. Peer-mentoring programs have been recognized as a valuable resource that can facilitate the integration of first-year students into college life. Previous research has demonstrated that such programs can positively impact academic outcomes and enhance student persistence in college. Through examining UB's first-generation peer mentoring program, this study aims to identify potential effects on academic outcomes and persistence in college. The findings suggest that participation in the program may lead to better academic performance in the first semester for first-generation students, compared to their non-mentored peers. However, the effectiveness of the program was found to be less significant than more comprehensive and established mentoring programs. The study highlights that the structure, content, and degree of support provided can play a crucial role in the success of peer-mentoring programs.
Historically, Somali Bantus women have been restricted from education through cultural norms that promoted early marriage. With expanded access to education in the United States, Somali Bantu women navigate their cultural heritage and American culture to pursue their college degrees. Using in-depth, semi-structured interviews, this paper explores how 12 Somali Bantu women, current and former college students, renegotiate cultural norms and practices while pursuing a college degree. This study presents how Somali Bantu women, who are Black Muslim refugees, rework cultural boundaries to pursue their college education. A race-gender framework is used to understand these women's racialized and gendered experiences. This study demonstrates how the gendered and racialized experience of Somali Bantus in the United States creates a college-going identity for women, not men. This college-going identity for women constructs a feminization of education in this community.
Men comprise the majority within science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), yet efforts to generate more inclusive environments within these disciplinary cultures often focus their attention on shifting women's behaviors, yet men have the capacity to affect change. This project examines the motivations, perceptions, and experiences of men faculty allies for undergraduate women in STEM. Participants' allyship can be categorized as: 1) educators; 2) situational allies; and 3) avoiders. Whereas educators aimed to educate their colleagues on the harmful effects of some behaviors, situational allies primarily concentrated their efforts on supporting women students. Avoiders tended to ignore problematic behaviors from colleagues, rationalizing instead that colleagues would eventually retire. Findings suggest that leveraging men, as the majority population, may be an effective approach to impact women's underrepresentation in STEM; however, additional training and direct efforts to challenge well-intentioned but harmful behaviors may be needed to maximize their impact.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), "First-generation college students (FGCS) contributed to one third of the U.S. college-going student population and only 56% graduated from college compared to 74% of students with a parent who graduated from college" (Forest Cataldi et al., (2018). Compared to their nonimmigrant peers, these students have more challenges starting from their decision to go to college and until they graduate successfully. Though previous studies have focused on these challenges, there is a paucity of research which focused on the different capitals these students bring to the academic institution. This present study explored the South East Asian and Latinx students' transitional experiences from high school to college using an asset based approach. Data drawn from 10 students from similar backgrounds demonstrate how conscious these students were of their first-generation status and their unyielding resilience to succeed in college.
This qualitative research investigates how Chinese restaurant owners negotiate their education opportunities, family solidarity, and social identity during their migration for success in the United States. The researcher conducted in-depth interviews with nine Chinese restaurant owners in Western New York and identified two types of participants based on their family backgrounds and educational attainments: the "family keepers" and the "career seekers". In short, "family keepers" tend to see ethnic business ownership as a way to sustain their families, while "career seekers" regard the ethnic business as a jumping-off point toward a new career. Incorporating the concept of transnational habitus from Bourdieusian scholars, this study argues that immigrants develop different transnational habitus within which they constantly reframe distinct mechanisms to evaluate their ethnic, family, and human capital for upward social mobility. By offering a comprehensive lens to understand immigrants' human agency in coping with social and racial inequity, this study suggests one's capital is dynamic and two-sided when transferring internationally. It also raises the significance of with-group variance in understanding new immigrants' upward social mobility.
The purpose of this case study was to understand the development and implementation of district administered preparation opportunities which support technology integration in secondary social studies classrooms at Hiawatha Middle and High School, a high achieving suburban school district in Western New York. A qualitative pilot study explored technology integration and reformed practice in social studies classrooms through the lens of the TPACK and SAMR foundations (Koehler & Mishra, 2009; Puentedura, 2013). Findings of the pilot aligned to prior research and indicated that integration observed primarily maintained existing classroom practices. This case study utilized interviews, observations, and focus groups through the lens of administrative staff who are responsible for the planning and implementation of technology training in this same district. The objective was to inform strengths or gaps in integration identified in the pilot study data, and to identify divergence or correspondence between teaching and administrative narratives surrounding reformative integration.
Anshu Chopra and Alexis Tensfeldt
Directed energy devices such as Radiofrequency (RF) devices and Photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy can reduce inflammation and promote healing of acute wounds. This study examined the mechanistic rationale to promote wound care. Epithelial cells were treated in suspension at different densities with RF and PBM devices. Cell proliferation, epithelial colony forming units (eCFU) and CD44 expression were assessed. RF treatment groups showed a statistically significant decrease in proliferation for the low-density group at 24 hours and 72 hours. For the PBM treatment groups, eCFU analysis revealed cell proliferation at high cell densities and inhibition at low cell densities. CD44 expression correlated inversely with the proliferation and eCFU responses suggesting these treatments have a variable effect on progenitor-stem and differentiated cells. Results indicate that RF and PBM therapy share similar characteristics in their evoked epithelial responses. The differential effects on cell densities suggest the role of cell-cell and secreted factors.
Extracellular vesicles are cell-derived nanoparticles whose paracrine effects to neighboring cells are partly mediated by their mitochondrial cargo. This project aims to (a) determine mechanisms that may improve the quality of mitochondria in extracellular vesicles released by vascular endothelial cells, especially in the context of mitochondrial diseases, and (b) conduct a pre-clinical assessment of the therapeutic potential of horizontal mitochondrial transfer via extracellular vesicles. Completion of this project will fill in gaps in our understanding of endothelial cell dysfunction in mitochondrial diseases, and will provide the framework for a new research direction that may burgeon into a novel therapeutic strategy for mitochondrial diseases.
To support the analysis of complex systems related to cortical and spinal level neuromuscular control of movement, a custom 3D printed human-machine interface (HMI) was developed in conjunction with a graphical user inter-face (GUI). The GUI moves an on-screen cursor to a desired target corresponding to flexion and extension of wrist muscles and consists of a customizable set of trials enabling various movement tasks to be programmed for analysis. The HMI records pass/fail movements using a X seconds on target threshold. For our experiments, we perform wrist movements perturbed through neurostimulation. The first half of tests were completed using wrist flexion and the second half were wrist extension. As the user works through a test sequence, electromyogram (EMG) and electroencephalogram (EEG) data are taken, and the cursor location and pass/fail sequence are recorded in real-time. The EMG and EEG data are combined with randomized neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) and non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) perturbations during each task to identify causal relationships between cortical and spinal pathways, and thus identify individual-specific motor feedback behaviors. The overall study seeks to better understand how these neuromuscular computations change with learning or injury, in the hopes to develop patient-optimized neurorehabilitation protocols.
Bone fractures pose a significant economic and public health burden for millions each year in the U.S, resulting in lost work, unaffordable medical bills, and an overall decrease in quality of life. A significant portion of these fractures, regardless of the quality of surgical treatment, result in non-union fractures requiring additional medical intervention. Colloidal gels can provide a scaffolding material for the repair and regeneration of bone tissue to treat these non-unions. These gels can be embedded with mineral components to enhance the regenerative responses. However, the difficulty lies in determining which gel structure can be optimally engineered with mineral components. To determine this, three different colloidal gels were manufactured by combining a 50% particle fraction of positively charged polyurethane with 5% high molecular weight polyacrylic acid (HPA), 5% low molecular weight polyacrylic acid (LPA), and 2M NaCl. The gels were functionalized with calcium and phosphate ions by treating them with 0.1M CaCl2 and 0.06M K2HPO4. The amount of calcium and phosphate retained by the gel was measured through spectroscopy. We suspect that the gel formed with HPA would retain the most growth factor due to its open-branched structure
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a deadly disease with no known cure. The lack of understanding of the role of macrophages in its pathogenesis has hindered the progress in developing effective treatments. To address this issue, we have developed a novel co-cultured fibrotic microtissue system that mimics macrophage-induced fibrogenesis of the lung interstitial tissue. This system has the potential to serve as a valuable model for studying the disease mechanism and developing effective therapeutic interventions for IPF. By providing a biomimetic environment to study macrophage interactions with other lung cells, we hope to advance our understanding of IPF and ultimately improve patient outcomes.
Adithya Narayanan Lakshmi Narayanan
Social intervention measures such as isolating symptomatic individuals, contact tracing, and quarantines, are central to pandemic control. These existing measures are disruptive to an individual - impacting mental health and interrupting routine activities - and to the economy due to their cost intensity and laboriousness . Moreover, the effectiveness of implementation practices is unclear. Recently, Firth et al.  used a social association network to illustrate that tracing the contacts and the contacts of contacts (secondary tracing) of an infectious individual is more effective in outbreak control than just tracing immediate contacts (primary tracing). However, the successful strategy quarantined large proportions of the population concurrently. Our working hypothesis is that effective pandemic control requires a more balanced approach that considers the need to minimize disruption to society. Our approach leverages a node prioritization approach known as PRINCE (Prioritization and Complex Elucidation) [Vanunu et al., 2010], to identify the most influential individuals in a network based on their ability to propagate disease through the rest of the network. Novel augmented targeted tracing strategies are proposed that build on node influence information derived from PRINCE into primary and secondary tracing protocols. Results on simulated and real networks demonstrate the efficacy of our novel pseudo-secondary tracing (tracing and quarantining the immediate contacts, and the prioritized contacts of contacts of an infectious symptomatic individual) and our novel selective secondary tracing (tracing and quarantining the prioritized immediate contacts, and prioritized contacts of contacts of an infectious symptomatic individual).
Ibukun Adetola, Joaopedro Alves and Sarita Das
This project introduces engineering students to mathematical biology research using fundamental concepts from chemical engineering. The Ford Versypt Lab offers semester-long experiential learning opportunities at this intersection. For the first portion of the experience called the "training phase", students complete a set of tasks connecting ordinary differential equations (ODEs) to the chemical engineering concept of mass balances, applying ODEs to study cancer and immune cell populations for chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatments, and learning to solve these equations in MATLAB. In the next stage of the experience called the "project phase," the students explore other math biology models about a biomedical application of their choice. Each student selects their own topic of interest, conducts a literature review, and then replicates two published mathematical biology models related to that topic. This experiential learning project provides the students with opportunities to develop a strong research and problem-solving foundation for the future.
Zeolites are aluminosilicates that can act as molecular sieves to adsorb impurities. Zeolite technology can be used to combat the environmental challenge of purifying CO2 streams from industrial sources. Purifying CO2 can eliminate its direct release in the atmosphere and purified CO2 can be used in food and beverage production, enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and as feedstock for methanol or urea production. In this work, a series of impurities (carbon dioxide (CO2), oxygen (O2), water (H2O), dimethyl sulfide (DMS, C2H6S), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), carbonyl sulfide (COS) and sulfur dioxide (SO2)) are modeled for their adsorption properties on silver (Ag) promoted SSZ- 13 zeolites with Si/Al molar ratio of 11;. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations are used to calculate the adsorption energies of CO2, H2O, DMS and other impurities in the CO2 stream. The PBE and HSE-06 functionals were used to perform DFT calculations, and frequency calculations were also carried out to obtain zero-point energy and entropy corrections. The DFT adsorption energies show that all of the molecules are capable of adsorbing to the zeolite.
Nanoporous silica is one of the leading membrane materials for efficient separation of H2 from CO2 gas. However, conventional fabrication process of silica membrane is complicated, which requires multiple cycle of high-temperature calcination, hindering large-scale production for industrial applications. In this study, we report a facile way to prepare silica membranes using rapid oxygen plasma treatment of polysiloxanes at room temperature. Specifically, polysiloxane composite membranes are exposed to oxygen plasma for 0.5 - 3 min, forming an ultrathin organosilica layer (~10 nm), as confirmed by XPS, SFG and GIWAXS. The resultant membrane exhibits controllable porous structure allowing precise H2/CO2 separation. As such, the best membrane exhibits H2 permeance of 880 GPU and H2/CO2 selectivity of 67 at 150oC, far surpassing Robeson's upper bound and other state-of-the-art materials. The robust and tunable separation properties coupled with the facile fabrication demonstrate the potential of the membrane for practical H2 purification and CO2 capture.
Cancer is a disease in which a portion of the body's cells grow uncontrollably and spread to the other parts of the body. Finding a stronger and more efficient tactic to fight against it should always be at the forefront of science. In this study we are preparing to synthesize fourth generation PAMAM dendrimer. It will be synthesized through a series of reactions with purification through column separation followed by filtration and drying. We believe if we can successfully synthesize the molecule that it can possibly be tested and used for biological testing for drug delivery. The molecule will be verified through NMR spectroscopy after each step or reaction to make sure we have the correct product.
Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive form of cancer that has poor prognosis with a five-year survival rate of around 11%. Although this cancer is difficult to detect and treat, experimentation has illustrated that chemokines largely impact the tumor microenvironment as they have specific roles in developing and restricting the tumor. Chemokines include ligands that bind to their specific receptors and give signals for their cell development and movement. To demonstrate the chemokine ligand and receptor interactions, we developed a mathematical model to predict the ligand-receptor binding and their concentrations dynamics. The model contains Ordinary Differential Equations to quantify the binding kinetics for either a two-ligand and one-receptor interaction or a one-ligand and two-receptor interaction. By creating an in-depth mathematical model, the time and resources of wet-lab researchers can be saved during their experimentations and a greater understanding can be gained about the physical nature of their experiments.
Hyposalivation affects patients with Sjӧgren's Syndrome and radiation induced xerostomia. It leads to the development of a whole host of oral diseases like endodontal disease, periodontal disease, oral candidiasis, etc. Current treatments are limited and only provide temporary relief with the use of salivary agonists like cevelimine and pilocarpine that induce saliva production from the residual acinar cells. Recent advancements in tissue engineered salivary glands provide a promising permanent solution. Induced pluripotent Stem Cells (IPSC) provide a great cell source for personalized medicine as they are autologously derived and hence would not cause any immunogenic response in the host.
Chintan Jayesh Shah and Gengyi Zhang
Mixed matrix membranes have been pursued for gas separations, such as post-combustion carbon capture, and a key challenge is to fabricate thin-film composite (TFC) membranes containing a defect-free selective layer (< 1 µm). Herein, we successfully prepared TFC membranes using a gutter layer of polydopamine (PDA) modified polydimethylsiloxane (dPDMS). The selective layer (as thin as 110 nm) comprises bottlebrush amorphous polyethylene oxide (aPEO) and metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) such as UIO-66-NH₂ and ZIF-8. The PDA layer (<10 nm) acts as a bio-adhesive promoting the formation of a thin and defect-free aPEO/MOFs layer via hydrogen bonding between amine in PDA and ethylene oxide. Cross-sectional SEM presents a smooth mixed matrix selective layer confirming the good compatibility between aPEO and MOFs. For example, adding 20 mass% of ZIF-8 nanoparticles into the selective layer improves the CO₂ permeance from 1500 to 2200 GPU, while slightly decreasing the CO₂/N₂ selectivity from 35 to 32 at 24℃. By contrast, adding 20 mass% of UIO-66-NH₂ increases CO₂ permeance from 1500 to 2100 GPU and CO₂/N₂ selectivity from 35 to 52, presumably because the amine groups in UIO-66-NH₂ improves the compatibility between the MOFs and aPEO affinity towards CO₂. This showcases the potential benefits of fabricating high-performance TFC membranes using UIO-66-NH₂.
Daniel Bedoya, Sydney Gallo, Daniel Hanin, Vicky Huang and Joyce Wang
Wastewater-based epidemiology is becoming an effective method to track the spread of COVID-19 diseases in a community because infected individuals shed virus particles in wastewater. Viruses in wastewater are quite diluted and the concentration is typically undetectable. It is therefore critical to concentrate viruses from wastewater before detection. Previous study has reported that multiple methods can concentrate virus particles with minimum damage to viral gene sand thus benefiting downstream sensitive gene-based detection. The sensitivity of virus detection, the costs of lab supplies, and the scalability of sample processing are big considerations to choose a concentration method for monitoring wastewater viruses on a weekly basis. In this presentation, the team compared the virus analysis and feasibility of six virus concentration methods, including electronegative membrane filtration (EMF), tangential-flow ultrafiltration (UF), polyethylene glycol precipitation (PEG), wastewater solids (S), ultracentrifugation (UC), and Nanotrap magnetic beads (Nano). The wastewater samples were collected from six local wastewater treatment plants, including Town of Amherst, Lackawanna, Southtowns, City of Tonawanda, Kenmore Tonawanda, and Bird Island.
With the ever-increasing literature on the shear behavior of reinforced concrete (RC) beams, the opportunity of collecting large amounts of data continues to grow and the application of machine learning (ML) algorithms rises with it. This study uses machine learning (ML) to predict the ultimate shear strength of RC beams and one-way slabs. A database of 1436 RC shear test results from several publications is assembled as training data. Subsequently, the training data is classified into two training subsets as per the minimum amount of shear reinforcement requirements of the ACI 318-19. Each shear test makes up a training sample with up to ten predictive features (i.e., geometry, materials, and load location) along with its corresponding target feature, i.e., the ultimate shear capacity. The accuracy of the predicted ultimate shear capacity from three ML algorithms (i.e., ordinary linear regression, support vector regression, and Gaussian process regression) is studied as a function of the training features and later compared to that from ACI 318-19. The results categorize the Gaussian process regression as the most accurate algorithm to predict the ultimate shear capacity. Furthermore, two out of the three ML algorithms outperform the accuracy of the ACI predictions in each training subset. The accuracies in the subset with shear reinforcement area less than the minimum shear reinforcement requirements are OLR (37.6 %), SVR (83.1 %), GPR (88.0 %) and ACI 318-19 (70.7 %) while the accuracies in the subset with shear reinforcement area greater than the minimum shear reinforcement requirements are OLR (82.5 %), SVR (75.4 %), GPR (88.2 %) and ACI 318-19 (77.8 %)
As offshore wind is increasingly used to lower carbon emissions in the energy sector, considerations to monitor and mitigate socio-political and environmental impacts associated with each stage, from design to decommissioning to repowering, are necessary. While previous design frameworks have incorporated criteria beyond cost and performance, there is still a need to include considerations such as decommissioning and post-end-of-life outcomes. Moreover, there is a specific need to mediate the environmental repercussions associated with decommissioning and the next stages, as some of these systems are partially removed, recycled, and landfilled. The contribution from this research is a decision-making framework to support sustainable design by incorporating considerations for decommissioning and future planning to reduce environmental habitat disturbances. A test problem is used to demonstrate the functionality and utility of the framework. The outcomes are expected to aid in sustainable decision-making with respect to offshore wind design, decommissioning, and long-term solutions.
Jiajun Pang and Gongda Yu
Climate changes and global warming result in an increasing number of extreme weather, such as storms, floods, etc., threatening the safety of human society. Typically, Global warming heavily impacts the winter season due to the increased precipitation, which leads to more frequent hazardous winter events (such as snow storms, blizzards, and freezing rains). To cope with the negative influence of hazardous winter events on traffic safety, accessibility, and mobility, the incorporation of connected technologies is necessary. In this project, we proposed an Intelligent Winter Road Information System (IWRIS) to connect road users and road maintenance teams and provide more supportive information for making rational travel decisions and effective service schedules during adverse winter weather conditions. Before implementing the IWRIS into reality, our team is working on a series of pilot studies to explore the proposed system's potential.
Anarghya Das, Huining Li and Puru Soni
This research project explores the potential of using machine learning to infer visual data from brainwaves, with the goal of developing novel brain-computer interfaces. A Convolutional Neural Network, based on VGG architecture, was trained on EEG data collected using a 16 Channel Open BCI Cyton+Daisy Board. Different shapes of various colors and locations were presented on a screen for classification. The model achieved a test set classification accuracy of 94% and an F1 score of 0.95, suggesting that brainwaves can be used to classify visual information seen by the user. This research shows promising progress toward developing advanced brain-computer interfaces that have the potential to revolutionize the way we interact with technology and improve the quality of life for people with disabilities and neurological disorders.
We present a structure-preserving PETSc (Portable, Extensible Toolkit for Scientific Computation) based Particle-in-Cell (PIC) method for studying electrostatic and gravitational plasmas. The PETSC-PIC algorithm is a highly scalable method, with multigrid capabilities, for solving the Vlasov-Poisson equations. In the PETSc-PIC algorithm, the Vlasov equation is solved using a particle representation while a continuum representation is employed for the Poisson solve. We implement our PETSc-PIC method on the example system Landau damping. This systems is a standard test in plasma physics and provides a baseline to show the effectiveness and correctness of our methodology.
Spider robots are fascinating machines that can move quickly and efficiently over difficult terrain. However, controlling their complex movements can be challenging. This is where the Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) comes in. By using an FPGA on a spider robot, engineers can program the machine to perform intricate movements with precision and speed. The FPGA acts as a control center, allowing the spider robot to navigate and interact with its environment in ways that would be impossible with traditional control systems. This abstract will explore the advantages of using an FPGA on a spider robot, including increased efficiency, improved functionality, and enhanced performance. With the power of an FPGA, spider robots can become even more versatile and effective in a wide range of applications, from search and rescue missions to space exploration.
Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) is a highly effective and reliable method for trace analyte detection and sensing based on narrow spectral features attributed to the vibrations of constituent molecules. We demonstrate Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy-based (SERS) sensors utilizing gold nanoparticles formed on Sapphire substrates by rapid thermal annealing of extremely thin gold films. Our sensors achieved highly sensitive detection of self-assembled monolayer of Biphenyl-4-thiol molecules.
Nikitha Bandaru, Harjot Barn and Anh Tran
Students face multiple challenges derived from their transition to college. An increasing number of first-year students report having poor time management skills that interfere with their academic success. Furthermore, at UB a large proportion of students also report having to work while studying. These issues impact all students, especially students from underrepresented minorities, including women, people of color, and first-generation students. Therefore, it is critical to provide first-year students with opportunities to strengthen their time-management skills that could support their academic success. Our aim with this project is to provide students with opportunities to track and evaluate their use of time so they can adopt a data-based approach to improve their time management skills. For that purpose, we have developed a time-tracking app using the Flutter framework that offers students the opportunity to track their time daily across a variety of activities, including but not limited to study, work, extracurricular activities, caregiving, and sleeping. Students will select from the categories on which they spent their time throughout the day and then record the appropriate amount of time for each. The distribution of their time for that day will then be reflected in a doughnut graph that they can use to evaluate the use of their time. Additionally, students will have the ability to view the weekly average time distribution graphs. Furthermore, the app will offer a space for them to reflect on the successes they have had in their academic life as well as identify the challenges present in their day-to-day life. Finally, the app offers easy access to other resources that can help them navigate such challenges as students on campus such as UB's Academic Success Center, Center for excellence in writing, Counseling Services, the Math Place, etc. We report on the development of the App, including the design rationale, the project management challenges for its execution, and the final product being piloted during Spring 2023 and envisioned to be launched among first-year engineering students in Fall 2023. This project demonstrates the potential use of technology to support the success of first-year students and underrepresented students in particular. The app will also provide researchers with a clear picture of how first-year students manage their time and support equitable access to resources necessary for their academic success. By leveraging these tools, we will improve the experiences and outcomes of all engineering students, particularly those from underrepresented minorities and ensure that a diverse range of perspectives are represented in the field.
Christina Bishop, Melanie Chavez, Senan Demel, Shirly Jeyarajan and Amanda Newbury
We are working with National Fuel to produce a feasibility study (FEED Study) on the implementation of an anerobic digester on UB's campus. This digestor would take food waste and convert it into renewable natural gas, which could then hopefully be used to help power UB's campus and relieve some electrical/gas usage costs. This project follows along the lines of UB's sustainability efforts.
By 2030, 1.6 billion people will lack access to clean water globally. In drinking water treatment, coagulants are used to allow suspended particles to settle faster. For this study, the use of Jatropha curcas seeds to increase the settling rate of suspended clay has been investigated. This research aims to determine if these seeds can become a sustainable alternative to help communities in low-resource environments treat water. The effects of coagulant dose and turbidity on turbidity removal were studied through jar tests. Results from the experiments suggest that Jatropha curcas seeds are an effective water treatment solution.
Waterborne diseases account for hundreds of thousands of deaths per year (WHO, 2022) as a result, access to clean water in households of low resource environments is currently being prioritized. One solution is ceramic water filters (CWFs), which have been proven to be effective at removing bacteria. CWFs are made from firing a mixture of clay, water, and waste organic materials. The burning of the organic material during the firing process creates tunneling that converts the pottery into a water filter. This study compares a more traditional waste organic, sawdust, to bagasse, a waste product from sugarcane processing. Lab scale CWFs were created using sawdust, bagasse based paper plates, and bagasse directly from sugarcane. Testing was done using a constant head apparatus. Measured parameters included flow rate, porosity, and turbidity removal. Relationships between the independent variables (type of organic material, percent of organic material present), and dependent variables porosity, turbidity removal, and flow rate) will be presented.
Syed Ali Kamal
Colleges and universities are trying to keep pace with the increasing mental health needs of students. However, research indicates that attitudes towards seeking help are still a barrier to the use of available resources. Engineering students in particular are less likely to seek help for mental health conditions (MHCs) than students in other fields. This poster presents the findings of our longitudinal multi-institutional study from the first year of its execution. We present quantitative results of survey data collected using established instruments measuring stigma of MHCs and help-seeking attitudes. Our results revealed a negative correlation between general social and college-specific measures of stigma and help-seeking attitudes, and between engineering-specific measures of stigma and help-seeking attitudes. Only engineering-specific stigmas changed in strength among women and students with MHCs. When considering elements of engineering, we found that perceptions of department diversity and care were not related to help-seeking attitudes, nor were the engineering identity or belonging measures.
James Li and Alexander Terry
This project is meant to display all of the organizations affiliated with every sub department at UB. It's interactive in the sense that you can navigate through a map of Buffalo and explore each organizations information. We've included many links and pictures of each one, and there are pins to signify the locations of each one. Also, we've incorporated a news section, and we plan to expand and develop an "about" section that creates a drop down menu so that it's easier for the user to navigate.
Academic Integrity (AI) violations have long been a concern of educators and academic institutions within all fields of study. AI violations can consist of a broad range of student behaviors that are considered dishonest, including but not limited to plagiarism, copying others' assignments, and paying for others to complete their work. As the risks for academic integrity issues become ever more prevalent, particularly as more academic institutions rely on online course formats, researchers are continually attempting to identify what underlying factors lead students to commit AI violations. The COVID-19 pandemic among other factors has contributed to the rise in online learning formats. This change in course modality combined with easier access to digital resources has lowered the boundary for many students for violating AI. This poster presents findings from a literature review to determine what factors influence students' perceived need to violate AI.
Thomas Przedwiecki, Frank Robles, Vladzislav Slesarenka, Bryan Steines and Dylan Zelko
Search-and-rescue (SAR) operations are often characterized by their unique set of constraints: response time is vital in minimizing human casualties and environments are dangerous and unpredictable (Liu et. Al., 2007). One proposed solution is to use aerial vehicles which are fast, reliable, and easy to operate (David et. Al., 2021). Aerial vehicles like drones have shown to reduce SAR operation times as well as improve accuracy in finding survivors (DJI-EENA Drone Efficacy Study). Efforts to reduce the cost of drones mainly for commercial use has made them more accessible than ever, but drones made specifically for SAR are still expensive which limits their capabilities. Thus, we presents a novel 3D printed drone designed for flexibility and low cost. Results of these tests will be collected to develop an open source framework for 3D printed drones, recommending specific parts, dimensions, and filaments to adapt to each scenario.
Inkjet printing has been a game-changer in precision micro fabrication, with applications in various fields such as electronics, optics, and biomedical. However, quality assurance issues remain due to the dynamic nature of the jetting process and limited material optimization. Real-time monitoring with reliable feedback control can improve inkjet printing's performance and expand its applications. Image-based sensing is currently used for in-situ monitoring but has computational limitations. The authors propose a zero-dimensional ultrafast sensing (0-DUS) system that extracts high-density information about droplets' location, flow rate, shape, and presence of satellites. The 0-DUS system exploits interference effects in the light beam field and uses dimensionality reduction for high-density information compression, enabling real-time data processing. The study validates the proposed concepts and demonstrates their applications in drop-on-demand inkjet printing and data-driven modeling for predicting jetting behavior.
Madison Dailey and Laura Schultz
The Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP) was implemented with the goal of incentivizing hospitals to improve patient and caregiver post-discharge planning. The program applies a cost penalty to hospitals with increased readmission rates for patients readmitted within 30 days after the index admission. The goal is to improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs. To predict the likelihood that a patient will be readmitted within 30 days of discharge and qualify for the HRRP, we will use a supervised learning model. This model will analyze patient descriptives and hospital performance to identify the relationships between various conditions and demographics and the likelihood of readmission. We will also use hypothesis testing to identify the significant factors and patient characteristics that may indicate a high risk of readmittance. With this project, we hope to perform root cause analysis as the basis for continuous improvement in patient care. We aim to identify the factors that contribute to readmissions, such as inadequate discharge planning, medication errors, and patient noncompliance with treatment plans. By addressing these factors, we can improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs. We will use a multiple regression model to combine the significant factors and predict whether a patient will be readmitted or not. This model is a statistical tool that can analyze the relationship between multiple predictor variables and a single outcome variable. By identifying the significant factors that contribute to readmissions, we can develop targeted interventions and improve patient care. We will analyze multiple years of data from the Nationwide Readmission Database, provided by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. This database contains information on millions of hospital readmissions, making it an ideal resource for our analysis. Overall, this project has the potential to improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs by identifying the factors that contribute to readmissions and developing targeted interventions to address them.
Seterah Kazemi Kheiri and Siri Valluri
Using wearable sensors has provided a vast opportunity for monitoring workers' activities in many different contexts, such as manufacturing and warehousing systems, through activity recognition methods. Notwithstanding the adoption of various learning algorithms in human activity recognition, privacy preservation remains one of the most important aspects of sensors' data analysis that has been neglected in traditional methods. In this study, we use the federated weighted averaging with adaptive learning rate method to classify the activities of electrical line workers captured using a single wearable sensor, in a lab experiment. Our model consists of a dense deep learning layer, trained locally on participants' systems. After each step of local training, updated weights are iteratively broadcasted to a server to update the global weights. This process continues until convergence occurs. Our results indicate that the proposed method has a comparable performance to traditional learning algorithms, while ensuring the privacy of the participants.
Russia has a history of purposefully employing disinformation propagation campaigns on popular social media platforms for its own geopolitical objectives (Paul and Matthews, 2016). The purpose of this study is to study popular disinformation propagation by Russia on Twitter regarding the Ukrainian invasion and its influence on various international audiences. There have been many studies on Russian Twitter disinformation campaigns (Freelon and Lokot, 2020). However, there is no comprehensive paper that studies Russian disinformation campaigns on Twitter with respect to the Ukrainian crisis. I compiled and mined Twitter user data using the public API to analyze the most popular forms of fake news and their impact. I utilized sentiment analysis techniques using popular Python natural language processing libraries. I found that there was a concerted campaign to spread fake news using Twitter to win sympathy for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. These results highlight how Russia is using information warfare in a real-time context and has implications for how we can adapt our defense strategy for 4th generation warfare.
Current training methods for endotracheal intubation (ETI) often do not consider stressors that would be present at patients' point of injury, and there is variation in how ETI competency is measured. This study evaluates the effects of external stressors on performance of novices learning ETI. Two groups of novices with no ETI experience performed a total of thirty intubation repetitions on an airway manikin over three days. During the repetitions, one group was exposed to battle sounds and shown a timer as external stressors. The repetitions were separated by rest periods, and the number of repetitions with successful intubations was recorded. The results showed an average increase in intubation success rate over the three days for both groups, and the stressor group was overall less successful than the non-stressor group. Although additional factors need to be considered, these results suggest stressors may have some negative effect on ETI training performance.
Anthony Butler, Anindita Chakravarty, Chu Te Chen, Rebekah Finster, Yu Fu, Durga Venkata Siva Prasad Kosana and Akshayaderi Tiroucoumarane
Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), a representative two-dimensional semiconductor, exhibits enormous potential in electronic and electrochemical applications. While it can be synthesized using chemical vapor deposition (CVD), the process is far from optimization due to high-dimensionality of the synthesis parameter space and complex correlation among the process variables. In this work, we exploited machine learning (ML) techniques to predict the success of MoS2synthesis and identified the crucial growth parameters. Leverage the knowledge gained, we successfully synthesized the material using CVD and demonstrated high-performance MoS2-based field-effect transistor (FET).
This research project examined high-entropy alloys in an attempt to understand and maximize their usually inversely related material characteristics- namely strength, ductility, and toughness. High-entropy alloys are alloys compromised of four to six elements in relatively equal quantity in their composition. This makes for a more stable, amorphous structure that is ideal for material applications and environments where consistent, uniform performance is highly important. Machine learning was used to create high-throughput prediction models to analyze how the chemical composition of high-entropy alloys affects material properties, using resulting data and their relevant trends. This project was part of materials and data science innovation and aided in cutting down the infinite design space faced by material scientists, including a pending publication of an open-source software to randomly generate high-entropy alloy data.
Mohamed Aziz and Ethan Fort
Gas analyzers are devices used to determine the composition of gas mixture components for various purposes, such as estimating combustion efficiency or monitoring air quality. Here, we propose a new class of gas analyzers that utilizes thermoacoustic technology to identify gas mixtures introduced, offering a cheap, durable, and environment-friendly alternative. In a standing-wave thermoacoustic engine, two key points are used to characterize the engine. As you apply heat to a thermally resistant porous medium, referred to as the stack, a temperature gradient is developed across it. When this gradient exceeds a critical threshold, the fluid in the resonator oscillates giving rise to a high-amplitude acoustic pressure wave. Under steady-state conditions, the pressure wave has a fundamental frequency. By introducing various compositions of flue gasses to the engine and measuring changes in the operational parameters, we develop an experimental correlation to accurately determine the gas composition in the engine.
Safwan Chowdhury, Sarita Das, Matthew Garrison, Andrew Houseman, Muhammed Moinuddin and Emma Ulatowski
Our engineering intramural team was created to assist in the progress that Professor Romano has put into developing a reproducible water storage container made explicitly from earthen materials. The individuals in Tanzania struggle to make a sustainable daily living wage, and the use of cement for structures is simply not feasible. The ultimate goal for our team is to enhance the design and work hand in hand with the architecture students to help work towards helping those in need in Eastern Africa. Accomplishments thus far for the entire project has been a working brick recipe, a study abroad team successfully assisting in the building of a structure in Tanzania, and gaining experience in teamwork and skill development.
Hanvit Cho, Joseph Distefano and Prajit Kumar
Studies on human-swarm interactions (HSI) are essential to involve a human user commanding a swarm of robotic systems. To perform HIS experiment, I integrated a computer simulation environment and an indoor physical setting. The innovative framework was able to physically implement swarm robots controlled in a computer simulator and determine what factors to be considered in the physical environment when controlled by algorithms human-made. To achieve a real-time experiment, several ground vehicles (E-Puck 2) and unmanned aerial vehicles (Crazyflie 2.0) were utilized in a motion capture lab in the physical environment, and their movements were reflected back to the virtual environment to analyze the delay or latency between the two environments. Understanding the results and analyzing the limitations of merging virtual and physical environments in HSI research can lead to the development of an advanced framework.
Sonification, the act of producing sounds that convey characteristics of the data, can be useful in a biomedical sense. Around 500,000 people in the U.S. are impacted by cerebral palsy, a disorder that causes gait impairments. Sonification has been used to improve the outcome of rehabilitation therapy for people with cerebral palsy. In the rehabilitation therapy, a sound will be played on each heel strike to motivate proper foot biomechanics and encourage improved gait patterns. In an experiment over the summer, we wanted to identify the most effective sound to use for improving gait impairments in cerebral palsy patients. A participant is shown a graph that represents a series of heel strikes and a corresponding sound for each trial. After choosing a sound, this semester we have been working on making a device that can be controlled wireless through a GUI to evaluate forces in the heel, make sound, and collect data.
Wasima Raisha Hussain and Melissa Patino
Mass shootings are a complex issue affecting the lives of multiple U.S. citizens every day. The complexity of the problem makes it difficult to frame, and therefore even more challenging to solve. As engineering college undergraduates, we understand that our knowledge and abilities are limited when approaching this issue. However, using our engineering skill set, we are able to add a perspective that may have not been considered before. We are utilizing the principles of reverse engineering and the engineering design process to help us with our own understanding of where the problem truly lies, and how to relay that information to others. We focus on comparing and contrasting current active shooter mitigation technologies and procedures and use the information to help us recognize patterns, which eventually allowed us to define the parameters a successful solution should have. We hope that this projectinspires others to tackle this devastating problem, and gives them a head start when doing so.
Sydney Kwitowski, Edward Luthartio and Joseph Malach
This study details a concept mission to Jupiter with multiple autonomous exploration vehicles capable of an in-situ atmospheric investigation. Jovian Autonomous Sailplane for Persistent Exploration and Research (JASPER) seeks to address limitations of previous missions by performing an in-situ investigation of the atmosphere. The scientific objectives of the JASPER concept mission are to measure the atmospheric characteristics, chemical composition, and cloud layer structure in multiple locations and depths over time on Jupiter. Preliminary feasibility investigations determined that a sailplane is the most suitable vehicle for navigating the atmosphere of Jupiter, taking advantage of the atmospheric dynamics to prolong mission duration. When compared to traditional drop probes, such as those of Galileo and Huygens, a sailplane would extend the mission lifetime by an order of magnitude. Sustained flight on Jupiter is the first step to unlocking the mysteries of the gas giants and transforming planetary exploration missions.
Object detection in space has become an increasing interest due to an uptick in the volume of valuable assets such as satellites, commercial vehicles, and other spacecraft being in the vicinity of Earth's orbit. These assets need to be protected from projectiles like orbiting rocks and debris from old satellites and spacecraft. The UB Nanosatellite Lab's Polarimetric Observer Light Analyzing Research (POLAR) satellite will help combat this problem. This satellite's payload will be the Thorlabs Triton 5.0 MP polarimeter. Polarimeters are able to detect objects by measuring the polarization of the light reflecting off of them. The measurements that the polarimeter takes will be put into a material estimation algorithm that will allow us to determine the material that the object is made out of. The POLAR satellite will be flown in low-earth orbit, which is where the highest volume of space debris is located.
The utility of polarized light curves to ascertain space object material and shape properties is demonstrated. Passively collected light curves are a fundamental by product of electro-optical sensing and are abundantly available. Previous work has demonstrated that considering of the polarization of these light curves yields observable information regarding the material properties of the observed object. This paper expands that approach to incorporate shape properties of the space object. The approach uses a model-driven approached based on multiple-model adaptive estimation as the underlying framework. A simulation-based validation of the approach indicate that both shape and material properties are recoverable.
Erin's Law requires schools to educate students and teachers, grades pre-kindergarten through twelve, with evidence-based curriculum designed to recognize and combat child sexual abuse.
The firm efficiency-based managerial ability measure (Demerjian et al., 2012) commonly used by researchers does not control for firm fixed effects, which leads to significant measurement error and misspecification problems. In this study, we propose a new measure for managerial ability that preempts firm fixed effects by using firm-specific regressions in measuring managerial ability. Simulations performed with randomly selected samples indicate that Type I and Type II errors in the existing managerial ability measure are remarkably reduced when firm fixed effects are filtered out. Using our proposed new measure for managerial ability, we replicate prior studies that find significant effects of managerial ability on various corporate decisions and outcomes. The replications reveal that many of those effects disappear or significantly dampen when the new measure is used.
Starting with Delaware in 2000, thus far, 9 states have changed the law to allow boards to waive this so-called duty of loyalty. These corporate opportunity waivers (COW) explicitly allow managers to ignore the duty of loyalty when in the course of their employment, they discover new business opportunities. We examine whether COW affects corporate tax behavior. Utilizing a staggered DiD setting along with various robustness checks for treatment effect heterogeneity, we find that COW leads to increases in corporate tax payment and that the contribution of tax saving activities to firm value decreases. This suggests that COW significantly weakens managers' tax saving efforts. We further show that the role of COW in discouraging corporate tax saving is more pronounced for firms with weak monitoring systems. Overall, COW alters corporate tax behaviors by weakening managers' tax saving incentives.
Nicholas Falk and Sarah Sauer
Last fall, we collaborated with students at the Singapore Institute of Management on consulting projects for both US-based and Singapore-based companies founded by UB alumni. As we took on the challenge of ideating marketing and human-resource-related strategies, we were able to participate in lively discussions with our diverse teammates about our cultural backgrounds. These discussions enabled us to enhance our intercultural communication skills as we navigated multiple time zones, expanded our cultural awareness, and ultimately presented practical business solutions for the companies we supported. We furthered our experiential learning by traveling to Singapore to learn about and visit a variety of Singaporean companies and attend a meaningful reflective discussion held at the SIM campus.
This paper analyzes the effects of off-exchange retail trades on liquidity, informed trading, and the activities of algorithm traders. I find that off-exchange retail trades reduce liquidity using the Retail Liquidity Program (RLP) on the NYSE as an instrumental variable. I find evidence that partially confirms a negative relation between off-exchange retail trading and informed trading. Off-exchange retail trading positively affects hidden and odd lot orders but negatively affects message traffic. This can be attributed to different trading strategies between high-frequency trading (HFT) market-making firms and institutional investors. The HFT market-making firms hide their trading intentions by submitting more hidden and odd lot orders to reduce inventory risk rendered by internalization. Algorithm traders on the exchange market as a whole reduce their activities by generating less message traffic.
What risks do corporations face? What is Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance? An exploration of the field of Risk Advisory and Internal Audit in relation to information technology systems audit and business process/financial statement audit. From climate risk to cybersecurity risk, businesses all over the world face potential risks as they operate, and I had the opportunity to serve F500 and middle-market clients helping mitigate their corporations' risks and streamline business functions. The majority of my work included performing internal audit services in relation to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, although I did do some work related to climate risk and cybersecurity.
The proliferation of sharing economy has enabled flexible labor supply, creating additional earning opportunities for gig-economy workers. However, uncertainty in consumer demand and the platform's present commission-based spot contracts make workers experience significant variations in earnings. While the uncertainty in earnings discourages workers from providing sustained services on the platforms, the uncertainty in worker participation adversely affects platform profitability. Rooted in the problems due to demand variations and the lack of a clear organizational structure, platforms face significant uncertainty over worker participation, and workers face significant uncertainty on their earnings. We propose a forward contract mechanism, which simultaneously addresses both these concerns; the mechanism provides minimum service time guarantee to workers while at the same time, decreases the uncertainty over worker participation faced by the platforms. Our findings provide important managerial implications to optimally source and incentivize independent service providers in on-demand digital platforms.
Justin Froese and Jackson Rogers
Through this program we got to learn so much about how Disney prioritizes leadership and development in their employees. We got to take part in many different leadership exercises that showed us how we can become leaders in our everyday lives. These skills have proven to be transferable throughout the process and have taught us how we can implement this approach to teach others to become leaders. This experience allowed us to grow and identify strong leadership around us on a daily basis.
Read It and Eat is a food and book subscription box startup that introduces customers to new foods, supports small businesses, and donates to charities fighting food scarcity and hunger. As a volunteer marketing assistant, my primary role is to develop an influencer program for the company. Our strategy involves utilizing micro-influencers and user-generated content (UGC) to engage with our niche target market effectively. Using a content-seeding approach, we increase our reach, traffic, SEO ranking, engagement, and sales leads. Our influencer selection process involves using Boolean searches to find appropriate influencers, and we organize them using a PR tracker. Through my experience in the "Experience the 50" program, I have gained a deeper understanding of small businesses, various charities to support, and market expansion opportunities, all of which inform my work as a marketing assistant for Read It and Eat.
Saima Adina, Hannah Tetreault-Sega, and Jenny Zheng
There's no question that the environment has been negatively impacted by humanity. Air pollution has been a problem that hasn't seen strides to be fixed, but we are seeing changes happen in the future that will impact us. The question is, how can we maintain our carbon footprint to longate this change. We propose that Spotify hosts a program called "Spotify Green Playlists." This program will inspire Spotify users to participate in sustainable transportation methods such as, carpooling, public transportation, and walking. Additionally, uniting a community through adding songs to playlists at designated locations for everyone to share. This program is meant to influence and reward people for finding sustainable transportation methods through their daily routine. People who participate are rewarded with concert tickets or a discount off their subscription. Spotify Green Playlists' influences users to change their behavior through an everyday leisure that could help save the world.
Seo Yoon Kang
This paper examines an interesting product depiction phenomenon - the anatomical depiction effect. Anatomical depiction is a technique where the product is decomposed into components that are spatially arranged in a grouped, layer-by-layer manner to explicate its inner structure. This research shows that anatomical depiction leads to positive effects on product valuation. This effect occurs because anatomical depiction leads consumers to visually simulate the coming together of a product's inner components to form the final product, which we term simulated assemblage, which in turn enhances consumers' confidence in product performance. Two field experiments demonstrate the marketing efficacy of anatomical depiction as an actionable advertising tool. Subsequently, multiple laboratory and online experiments explicate underlying process and delineate important moderators such as product warranty and product architecture type (i.e., modular vs. integral). This research offers usable insights for multiple stakeholders, such as firms, designers, and consumers on its utility for marketing.
Shant Danadian, Sergio Sandoval and Preeti Shenoy
The Buffalo Undergraduate Consulting Group created a GoFundMe fundraising strategy to raise funds for the 2 Ukrainian students. Through targeted social media advertisements, we were able to engage with donors and drive traffic to the fundraiser. Additionally, posting on LinkedIn and reposting on our private accounts allowed us to expose the fundraiser to over 5000 followers. By utilizing these two platforms, we were able to increase our visibility and raise awareness for our fundraising campaign. Our efforts resulted in a significant increase in donations, and we are grateful for the support we received from the community. In order to raise awareness about the fundraiser, we utilized several channels: both physical, such as flyers left on tables with a QR code for the GoFundMe, and virtual channels, including our own personal social media and LinkedIn accounts. To drive more engagement with the fundraiser and entice donors, we offered a low-cost incentive. Those who donated $10 or more to the GoFundMe were entered into a drawing for a $25 gift card. On March 6, 2023, a winner was selected.
Vincent Dieffenbaugher, Christian Van Gorder and Marta Varga
The Buffalo Undergraduate Consulting Group as part of a wider project were asked to redesign the website for Global Programs, a program in the School of Management that allows undergraduate and graduate students to improve their business skills by learning about business in other parts of the world. BUCG analyzed the current website and application to understand what is causing students to not engage with the contents of the website. BUCG analyzed the websites of similar programs at other universities and researched engaging website designs. Based on the conclusions of this research BUCG created mockups of potential new designs for the website and application that draw in viewers and keep them engaged with the content that was enhanced with more relevant and up to date information about the available programs.
A significant portion of waste generated by the United States gets disposed of unsustainably creating a need for more efficient reverse supply chains. This study focuses on the recycling outputs of material recovery facilities (MRFs), an integral part of the reverse supply chain and analyzes how factors like firm product volume, product variety, ownership status, collaboration and integration, and participation in the Climate Smart program influence their recycling performance. A longitudinal econometric study spanning five years (2016-2020) and involving 76 MRFs shows that facilities with higher product volume and variety have significantly higher recycling outputs. Furthermore, participation in the Climate Smart Program and proximity to solid waste management facilities also significantly improves recycling outputs. Interestingly, the positive impact of product variety on recycling output was higher after implementation of China's National Sword policy signaling diversification benefits. Lastly, firm ownership was also seen to significantly influence recycling outputs of MRFs.
Colleen Chen, Grace Conrad, Jared Pawlak and Robert Siegel
Our project is about our journey to Bangkok, Thailand, and everything that we've learned about sustainability. Our presentation will focus on our key takeaways and sharing stories about our trip. We will talk about how to start conversations and especially for those who may not know much about sustainability. We will also mention things such as practicing eco-mindfulness, doing volunteer cleanups, and eating cleaner diets.
Hannah Clark, Justin Koury, Jesse Kulesza, Grace Murphy and Benjamin Yeung
Additional credit to Dr. Joana Gaia, her email is email@example.com, and her department is Management, Science, and Systems. Additional credit to Naomi Perrone-Smith, her email is firstname.lastname@example.org, and her department is Global Programs. Each student participated in a group project for an organization in Costa Rica. These projects included possible ways to improve commercialization processes, to increase finances available to those who need it or to develop/enhance social media presence across different platforms. In addition to the group projects, we traveled to Costa Rica during spring break and visited some of these organizations.
In 2019, most new hires within organizations in the United States were people of color. One implication for management scholars is that now more than ever, the onus falls on researchers to understand the nuanced workplace experiences of racially diverse employees. However, race research typically uses categorical conceptions of racial subgroups, assuming that individuals of the same race or ethnicity think and act alike. Drawing on insights from racial identity theory and intersectionality, this research uses a latent profile analysis to examine if and whether racial identity profiles exist within black American employees. In the Preliminary Study, I identify four unique profiles of racial identities in a sample of 346 employees. In Study 1, I replicated four racial identity profiles using a larger sample of 509 black employees currently working in the U.S. Using data collected at two time points; I show that education, childhood income, and sex predicted racial identity profile membership and that these profiles predicted perceptions of work group inclusion.
Proteins and portions of DNA work together to regulate gene transcription, controlling when individual genes are turned "on" and "off." Short DNA sequences distal from a gene that perform these functions are known as cis-regulatory modules (CRMs). Identifying CRMs is difficult; however, machine learning algorithms can help in their discovery. Our lab has co-developed one such machine learning algorithm to predict CRMs, "SCRMshaw." Currently, SCRMshaw can predict CRM sequences effectively; however, the predicted CRMs do not always regulate gene expression with the expected tissue specificity. We sought to improve this by changing the composition of the negative data used in training the algorithm (positive training data were unchanged). Although we saw improvement with some metrics, other measures were worse or showed no change. Overall, our results suggest that modifying the training in this way does not produce a better result.
Cytochrome P450 11A1 (CYP11A1) is a membrane associated mitochondrial enzyme that metabolizes chemically distinct substrates cholesterol and vitamin D3, with less efficient metabolism towards the latter. CYP11A1 exerts its catalytic function by obtaining two sequential electrons from Adrenodoxin (Adx). Recent studies suggest that both substrates and Adx may play a regulatory role in CYP-mediated metabolism. This leads to my central hypothesis that the differences in the vitamin D3 and cholesterol's chemical structure uniquely induce conformational change(s) of CYP11A1 structure that are relayed towards the region that are known to interact with Adx. My objective is to test this hypothesis by utilizing in-solution biophysical techniques in combination with biochemical assays to assess substrate-induced conformational changes to CYP11A1 structure and determine whether vitamin D3 or cholesterol modulate CYP11A1 protein-protein interaction with Adx, thus explaining reduced efficiency towards vitamin D3.
Intro/Background: Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Pa) is a highly drug-resistant and adaptable human pathogen. The Pa imuABC-encoded translesion synthesis (TLS) DNA polymerase bypasses DNA damage, causing mutations that contribute to Pa drug resistance and pathogenesis. By identifying how ImuABC interacts with each other and the replication machinery we may identify novel therapeutic targets for treating Pa infections. Experimental Methods: Yeast two-hybrid (Y2H) and nickel-agarose chromatography of cell-free lysates were used to investigate interactions involving Pa ImuABC and components of the replisome. Hypothesis: We hypothesize that the Pa ImuABC proteins function differently than mycobacterial ImuABC. Data: Our Y2H results demonstrate that Pa ImuC interacts with itself, the ꞵ clamp, ImuA, and Pol IV. The ImuA-ImuC interaction was supported by the results of nickel-agarose chromatography. Summary: Our results suggest that the mechanism used by Pa ImuABC for TLS differs from mycobacterial ImuABC.
N-terminal methylation is a modification that influences a variety of biological processes by regulating protein stability, protein-DNA interactions, and protein-protein interactions. We have previously shown that the N-terminal trimethylase, METTL11A, is regulated through binding of its homolog METTL11B. METTL11A was also reported to co-fractionate with a third family member, the dual-activity methyltransferase, METTL13. Here, we confirm a regulatory METTL11A/METTL13 interaction and show that, while METTL11B activates METTL11A, METTL13 inhibits METTL11A activity. This is the first example of a methyltransferase being opposingly regulated by different family members. Similarly, METTL11A promotes one methylation activity of METTL13, but inhibits the other. These regulatory effects are independent of catalytic activity, demonstrating novel, non-catalytic functions for METTL11A and METTL13. Finally, we show all three enzymes can complex together, and when this occurs, the regulatory effects of METTL13 take precedence over those of METTL11B. These findings provide a better understanding of the regulation of N-terminal methylation.
Brain iron accumulation (BIA) is progressive and mirrors disease development in the rare inherited ataxia Friedreich's Ataxia (FRDA). Investigation of the brain microenvironment begins at the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Vascular integrity is maintained by tight junctions (TJ), transmembrane proteins anchored by filamentous actin. FRDA literature shows actin posttranslational modifications pathologic to filament formation. Thus, we hypothesize that aberrant actin and TJ dynamics in FRDA is pathologic to BBB integrity, permitting progressive BIA. We designed FXN-knockdown brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMVEC), which show a loss of filamentous actin, reduction in tight junction proteins, and decreased barrier strength. Furthermore, the latter two are improved by methylprednisolone, a beneficial drug in FRDA. Thus, we show that FRDA BMVECs have an inherent loss of barrier function that is rescuable with methylprednisolone. This may be a candidate for improvement of the continual BIA in disease.
NMDA receptors (NRs) are glutamate-gated ion channels distinguished by their ability to produce slow, Ca2+ rich excitatory currents. The resulting Ca2+ flux is essential for fundamental aspects of synaptic development and plasticity, and when in excess, drives excitotoxicity. Using whole-cell electrophysiology and Ca2+ fluorometry, we show that endogenous receptor modulators, such as extracellular pH and Zn2+, whose concentrations vary with developmental stage, brain region, and activity level, control the channel Ca2+ permeability. Similarly, synthetic ligands that act allosterically through the N-terminal domain, such as ifenprodil, modulate the NR Ca2+ permeability. These results suggest that the depolarization function of NRs, which is largely mediated by Na+ currents, can be separated from their plastic function, which is largely mediated by Ca2+. Further understanding this phenomenon may aid future NR drug-design, providing novel pharmacological targets that function to alter neuronal Ca2+ flux without disrupting the vital excitatory function of these receptors.
Through the process of differentiation, cells can specialize into different types with distinctive shapes and specific functions. Many fungal species undergo filamentous growth, where cells differentiate to pseudohyphal and hyphal cell types in response to environmental stresses, like nutrient starvation. Fungal species can also form biofilms or mats, where communities of cells adhere to each other and to surfaces through the regulated expression of genes encoding cell-adhesion molecules. In opportunistic fungal pathogens, like Candida albicans, these responses contribute to host cell invasion and virulence. The budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, also undergoes filamentous growth and forms biofilms. Genetic screens and nonessential gene-deletion collections have identified many regulators of these processes. However, one group of genes that has yet to be systematically analyzed for their role in filamentous growth and biofilm/mat formation are genes with essential functions. We designed an approach to transfer a collection of temperature-sensitive (ts) alleles of essential genes into a strain background (Σ1278b) that undergoes filamentous growth. To date, 135 ts alleles representing 44% of essential processes have been introduced into the filamentous background. The ts mutants were allowed to grow as biofilms/mats, by incubating patches of cells on 0.3% YEPD plates at the semi-permissive temperature of 32°C. For mutants with severe growth defects at 32 ̊C, some mutants were examined at 30 ̊C for phenotypes in invasive growth, pseudohyphal growth, and biofilm/mat formation. These experiments uncovered new roles for essential genes that function in processes including organization of the actin cytoskeleton, GPI-anchor biosynthesis, splicing, kinetochore assembly, and chromosome segregation in filamentous growth and biofilm formation. Focusing on the actin cytoskeletal proteins, we uncovered a key role for theWiskott-Aldrich Syndrome protein (WASp) homolog, Las17p, in regulating the Cdc42p-dependent MAP kinase pathway (fMAPK) that controls filamentous growth. Unexpectedly, Las17p did not impact another Cdc42p-dependent MAPK pathway that controls mating and shares components with the fMAPK pathway. The tetra-span sensor of the fMAPK pathway, Sho1p, was present at reduced levels and was mislocalized in theconditional las17-13 mutant, which might account for the specific role ofLas17p in regulating the fMAPK pathway. This type of approach may improve our understanding of the widespread roles that highly conserved and ubiquitously present essential genes play in regulating cell differentiation. Moreover, the collection may also provide a resource for comparing essential gene functions among individuals of the same species.
Bulk RNA-seq datasets have been generated from thousands of precious samples across biomedical research. Thanks to cellular deconvolution these datasets can be used to infer cell type composition and molecular heterogeneity. However, accurate deconvolution is contingent upon proper parameter selection and cluster resolution of the single-cell reference dataset. To address this challenge, we developed ACeD, an efficient algorithm that identifies the optimal reference set resolution and maximizes deconvolutional performance.
Computational prediction of small molecule toxicity has the potential to significantly improve drug discovery efficiency. We describe a pipeline for predicting small molecule toxicity using the previously developed Computational Analysis of Novel Drug Opportunities (CANDO). The CANDO platform comprises various pipelines for assigning drugs/compounds to indications/phenotypes by computing interactions between compounds and proteins in their respective libraries, yielding compound-proteome signatures that describe behavior; similar behaviors exploited to make predictions. Our toxicity prediction pipeline consists of a custom compound and protein library with each compound being assigned one of six phenotypes representing categories of toxicity. The pipeline showed increased performance relative to random controls measured using a variety of performance benchmarking protocols already implemented within CANDO. The increased performance demonstrates the capability of CANDO for accurate small molecule toxicity prediction, which has the potential to improve drug discovery efficiency.
John Lewis Etter
Two X-linked ovarian cancer risk alleles have recently been identified. X-linked risk alleles are subject to unique patterns of transmission, expression and regulation that can be leveraged as markers of X-linked disease. Potential markers include X-linked recessive embryonic lethality, for which male offspring are more susceptible, and X-chromosome inactivation (XCI), an epigenetic mechanism that transcriptionally silences the X-chromosome in females. Logistic regression models were fit among 539 ovarian cancer cases and 1464 controls to estimate the association between incomplete pregnancy and ovarian cancer risk. XCI was measured in 142 cases and 137 controls and logistic regression and Cox proportional-hazards models were fit to estimate associations with ovarian cancer risk and survival. Cases were more likely to report a history of incomplete pregnancy and exhibit skewed XCI than controls. Cases that exhibited skewed XCI experienced poorer survival. These measures may have translational utility for ovarian cancer screening, prognostication and gene discovery.
Shane Fraher, Adam Ghraizi and Janice Rosales
Complement Factor H (FH) is a critical regulator of the complement system, a system that plays an important role in protecting us from pathogens. Absence of FH causes disease of kidney, eye and blood vessels and alters bone structure. The underlying mechanism/s by which FH modulates the pathology in the different organs and cells remain incompletely understood. Our studies showed that in FH deficiency, kidney disease is modulated by macrophages. Our studies also show that FH modulates osteoclasts and thereby the bone structure. Macrophages and osteoclasts are phagocytic cells, and are generated by the same precursors. Macrophages migrate to sites where they are needed, while osteoclasts migrate to the bone surface. Our results show that FH alters the cytoskeleton and mitochondrial bioenergetics in these cells, and we hypothesize that FH could also modulate cell migration. To understand the role of FH in cellular migration, we cultured osteoclasts and macrophages from FH knockout (fh -/- ) mice and wildtype (WT) mice and determined their migration capability. The fh -/- osteoclasts showed a tendency of reduced migration (4%) compared to their WT counterparts, while FH did not affect migration in macrophages. Our results indicate that FH alters homeostasis in these phagocytic cells but may not affect their migratory capacity giving us critical information to determine how to modulate the cells during disease.
Proteus mirabilis is a predominant cause of catheter associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI), and a key virulence factor is its urease nickel-metalloenzyme which hydrolyzes urea to ammonia. Urease increases urine pH which results in urinary stone formation and catheter blockage, which facilitates the development of bacteremia and sepsis. The only urease inhibitor approved by the FDA showed efficacy for preventing stone formation but had side effects that limited its use. Alternative strategies are needed for targeting P. mirabilis urease activity. CAUTI are often polymicrobial and we demonstrated that common co-colonizers modulate P. mirabilis urease activity. The goal of this study is to identify the microbial-derived urease-modulatory factors and determine their mechanism of action. We utilized Metabolon Inc's MetabolomicsTM LC-MS platform to conduct an untargeted metabolomics analysis of cell-free supernatants. 36 potential urease-dampening compounds were prioritized, of which 34 have been tested and 4 were shown to decrease P. mirabilis urease activity. Two compounds decreased the activity of purified urease enzyme suggesting that two compounds indirectly inhibit urease activity. One compound impacts the transcriptional regulation of the urease operon. Four compounds also dampen urease activity in other bacterial species that frequently co-colonize catheters with P. mirabilis. Our ongoing work focuses on pinpointing the steps in production of the catalytically active urease enzyme that are inhibited by each dampening compound.
Cryptococcus neoformans is a ubiquitous environmental fungus and human pathogen, primarily impacting immunocompromised hosts such as those living with HIV/AIDS. One of C. neoformans' key virulence traits is its ability to rapidly adapt to the harsh environment inside the human lung. Here, it is subject to both a sudden temperature shift to 37°C and oxidative stress from resident lung macrophages. Exposure to these stressors is met with, and combated by, an initial repression of translation and induction of the integrated stress response (ISR), resulting in a reprogrammed stress-responsive translatome. We have found that translational repression in response to temperature stress is primarily driven by Ccr4 mediated mRNA decay, while the response to oxidative stress is a combination of mRNA decay and Gcn2 driven translational repression Future work will seek to identify mRNAs whose translation changes in response to these stresses and evaluate mRNA features that specify their fates.
Essi Yayra Ines Tchalla
Despite licensed vaccines, the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) remain a serious cause of infections worldwide. Susceptibility to infection and vaccine-mediated protection is influenced by biological sex. The incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease remains higher in males compared to females even upon immunization with the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV). However, sex-based differences in the immune response to PCV remain unexplored. To investigate that, we vaccinated adult male and female mice with PCV and assessed immune responses. Compared to females, males displayed lower antibody levels and function against pneumococci. This was associated with lower levels of germinal center B cells and T follicular cells, which are required for antibody production. Importantly, while the vaccine was fully protective in females, males succumbed to infection more readily and had more bacteria in their lung and blood following S. pneumoniae challenge. These findings identify sex-based differences in vaccine responses that can inform future vaccine strategies.
Zolton Kish and Hope Nyarady
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) are among the most common acquired brain injuries in individuals under the age of 45. Following a TBI, a person may acquire post-concussion symptoms, neuroinflammation, and cognitive deficits. However, the relationship between symptomatology and neuroinflammation with cognitive deficits has not been well-established. We investigated how symptomatology and circulatory cytokines relate to objective cognitive dysfunction, in individuals that have suffered a mild TBI. Correlational analyses indicated that as the severity of self-reported TBI-related symptoms increased, there was poorer performance on cognitive tests of short-term memory and information processing speed. The analyses also indicated that increased serum and plasma levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines Interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-1β correlated with poorer performance on cognitive tests assessing visual-spatial working memory, information processing speed, and executive functioning. These findings support the notion that self-reported symptomatology and cytokine activity directly correspond with the emergence of cognitive deficits following a mild TBI.
Ischemic stroke accounts for significant morbidity and mortality. Despite interventional advancements, such as clot-busting drugs (i.e., tPA) and surgical clot removal (i.e., thrombectomy), stroke outcomes remain suboptimal. Clot attributes (i.e., cellularity) are determinants of interventional success and patient recovery. Therefore, studies are investigating the relationships between pre-surgical thrombus radiomics -clot attributes measured from radiology- and clinical outcomes. Unfortunately, biological interpretability of radiomics is limited. In order for candidate radiomics to inform clinical decision making, such as what therapeutic is best suited for a particular clot, the pathobiology underlying that radiomic must be identified. We aim to bridge the gap between clot biological mechanisms and radiology by fusing multimodal data, including pre-surgical and microscopic CT, histology, and gene expression. Together, these data can draw direct correlations between biological phenomena (i.e., neutrophil pathology), radiomics (i.e., CT brightness), and poor clinical outcomes (i.e, tPA or thrombectomy failure).
Min Chung, Nayoung Kwak and Haeni Lee
It is imperative to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on substance use among US pregnant women. We examined if e-cigarette (EC), combustible cigarette (CC), and Marijuana (MJ) use among US pregnant women was affected in the early stage of the pandemic using data from Phase 8 of the US Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System. Our sample was pregnant women between 2016 to 2020 (Pre-COVID N=97,160; COVID N=24,512). EC use increased among COVID mothers given birth during Oct-Dec 2020 (Ops 1.93% vs. Exp 1.56%), but without statistical significance. CC use only significantly increased among mothers given birth during Oct-Dec 20 (Ops 6.65% vs. Exp 4.6%). The prevalence of MJ use did not show a significant change among COVID mothers (Ops 4.69 vs. Exp 4.60). We concluded that US pregnant women had a higher prevalence of EC and CC use, and MJ use had a similar prevalence during COVID-19, compared to our expectation based on historical trends.
Background - Links between children's outdoor activity and overall wellbeing have been established, however the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in decreased health-related quality of life. The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between 8-12-year-old children's frequency of outdoor activities and parent reported health-related quality of life and sleep quality. Methods- Parents completed an online survey examining children's frequency of outdoor activities, health related quality of life, and sleep quality. Linear regressions examined if frequency of participation in outdoor activity predicts: 1) children's health related quality of life and 2) children's sleep hygiene and routine. Results- Parents (n=47) reported on their 8-12 year old children's (62% male, mean age=10.3 y) outdoor activities (mean=1.5 activities/week). A significant relationship between frequency of outdoor activity and physical wellbeing (r=0.350, p<0.05) was observed. No other significant relationships were observed (p>.25). Discussion- Findings elucidate children's frequency of outdoor activities post-COVID-19 and potential links to physical health.
Feeding styles are the approach parents use to feed their child and the emotional climate created during eating. The current study examined differences in feeding styles at-home versus in restaurants and whether feeding styles predicted child weight status. Fifty-one Black/African American parents of a 3-8-year-old who frequently eats at restaurants completed an online survey in Winter 2022-23. Parents reported on demographics, anthropometrics, and their feeding styles via the Caregiver's Feeding Style Questionnaire. Indulgent styles (i.e., low structure/high responsiveness) were most common overall, more prevalent in restaurants and linked to higher child BMIz-scores. Authoritarian styles (i.e., high structure/low responsiveness) were more prevalent at home and linked to lower child BMIz-scores. Findings contribute to the limited research examining feeding styles in out-of-home settings, and suggest a need for health promotion efforts aiming to make selecting healthier choices easier and more appealing for families in out-of-home eating environments like restaurants.
Ryan Dewan, Jacob Distasio, Hasnat Nuri and Nicole Sweiderek
Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) is an atypical form of Parkinsonism that includes symptoms such as motor function and dysexecutive deficits. Pathologically, PSP is characterized by aggregated tau, creating neurofibrillary tangles within neurons and glia. While the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the Substantia Nigra occurs in both PSP and Parkinson's Disease, PSP patients exhibit loss of cholinergic neurons in the pedunculopontine tegmentum (PPTg). Discovery of pharmaceutical treatments for PSP has not progressed due to the lack of an animal model. We hypothesize that the aggregation of tau in PPTg cholinergic neurons will lead to PSP-like symptomology and pathology. To test this, ChAT-CRE rats and CRE-dependent AAV vectors were used to express human wildtype tau within cholinergic PPTg neurons. PSP-like symptomology was assessed by various behavioral paradigms. While PSP-like pathology will be studied through MRI and immunohistochemistry. The validation of a comprehensive PSP preclinical model will aid in PSP-specific therapeutics.
John Hamilton, Nikki Hammond, Madeline Podaras, Brittany Richardson, Nicole Roeder and John Tyler
Recently, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has gained recognition due to its marked efficacy, especially in comparison with aerobic and resistance exercise. Little is known regarding the neurobiological mechanisms of HIIT including its effects on dopamine signaling and receptor levels in the brain. The present study examined the effects of chronic HIIT exercise on dopamine type 1-like receptor (D1R)-like, dopamine type 2-like receptor (D2R)-like, and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) levels in the brains of male and female rats as measured by [3H]SCH 23390 and [3H] spiperone autoradiography, and TH-immunoreactive optical density values. The rats that were exposed to HIIT exercise ran on a treadmill for 30 minutes daily (ten three-minute cycles) for six weeks with progressive speed increased up to 0.8 mph (21.5m/min), while the sedentary rats remained in their home cage. Results showed for D2R-like binding, a significant effect across the ventral caudate putamen (V CPU) between sexes, such that mean D2R-like binding was 14% greater for males than females. In the nucleus accumbens shell (Nac Shell), the HIIT Exercise brains showed 16% greater D2R-like binding as compared to the sedentary group. No significant effects of HIIT exercise were found across groups for brain D1R-like binding levels or TH expression.
Molly Martin and De Avion Teixeira Douglas
Neuropathic chronic pain is a leading cause of disabilities. Due to the growing opioid epidemic and the lack of effective treatments, alternative pain reducing therapies are being researched. NaV1.8, a voltage-gated sodium channel found exclusively in pain-sensing neurons, has been identified as a potential analgesic target for neuropathic pain. In prior research, the Bhattacharjee lab showed that NaV1.8 interacts with scaffold protein called membrane-associated guanylate kinase with inverted-1(Magi-1). Magi-1 localized with NaV1.8 and appeared to stabilize channels during inflammatory states. We hypothesize that knocking down Magi-1 in nerves would cause a localized analgesic effect. We performed a chronic constriction injury (CCI) by unilaterally encapsulating the sciatic nerve with a polyethylene 2mm cuff to induce neuropathic pain. Using an in vivo sciatic nerve injection technique and Magi-1 shRNA, we knocked down Magi-1 in the entrapped nerve in male and female mice. A non-coding shRNA was used as the control. The mice were then tested for pain behavior using a dynamic weight bearing apparatus to determine percent weight borne on each paw before and after genetic knockdown. Data was manually scored and validated, but the scorer was blinded to the experimental condition. We saw an increase in the percent weight on the CCI injured paw in Magi-1 knock-down mice compared to the control. We conclude, that genetically knocking-down Magi-1 may be an effective non-opioid treatment for neuropathic pain.
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive component of cannabis. Rodent studies examining THC often use intraperitoneal injection (i.p.) as the route of administration, primarily in male subjects. We sought to characterize the pharmacokinetic and phenotypic profile of acutely-inhaled THC in female rats to identify differences in THC exposure between routes of administration. Adult female rats were administered THC via inhalation or i.p. Serum samples were analyzed for THC and metabolites. Rats were similarly treated for locomotor activity analysis. Rats administered 2mg/kg THC i.p. reached maximum serum THC concentrations of 107.7±21.9ng/mL. Inhalation doses of 40 or 160mg/mL THC achieved maximum THC serum concentrations of 43.3±7.2 and 71.6±22.5 ng/mL, respectively. Significantly reduced rearing activity was observed in the lower inhaled dose and the i.p. THC dose. This study established a simple rodent model of inhaled THC, providing support for future inhaled THC rodent research as a model of human cannabis use.
Chronic pain is a global health issue affecting 1 in 5 individuals. As the first site of central integration of sensory signals, the spinal cord dorsal horn (SCDH) represents a compelling target for novel analgesics. We found that the synaptic WW-domain-containing scaffolding protein Magi-2(S-SCAM) was differentially expressed in superficial SCDH neurons suggesting a role in excitatory synaptic transmission putative nociceptors. Transgenic and viral Magi-2 knockdown attenuated acute and chronic inflammatory pain behaviors. Notably, in the transgenic model, the reduction in Magi-2 was associated with reduced levels of the NMDA receptor subunit NR1. While viral knockdown of Magi-2 had no effect on basal NR1 levels, Complete Freunds Adjuvant-induced upregulation of NR1 in the spinal cord was abolished. Heterologous co-expression of Magi-2 and the E3 Ubiquitin Ligase Nedd4-1 led to a decrease in NR1 protein levels, however mutation of a previously unidentified WW-binding domain within the C-terminal of NR1 abrogated this Nedd4-1 dependent loss.
Aims: Acute and chronic Δ9-THC exposure paradigms affect the body differently. More must be known about the impact of Δ9-THC dosing and duration on cannabinoid-1 (CB1R) and mu-opioid (MOR) receptor levels in the brain. The present study examined chronic Δ9-THC's effects on CB1R and MOR levels, locomotion, food/water intake, and body weight. Main Methods: Adolescent Sprague-Dawley rats were given daily intraperitoneal injections of Δ9-THC [0.75mg/kg (low dose or LD) or 2.0 mg/kg (high dose or HD)] or vehicle for 24 days, and locomotion in the open field was tested before and after chronic Δ9-THC exposure. Brains were harvested at the end of treatment. [3H] SR141716A and [3H] DAMGO autoradiography assessed CB1R and MOR levels, respectively. Key Findings: Results showed that LD and HD Δ9-THC did not affect food/water intake or body weight. Chronic HD rats showed reduced vertical plane (VP) entries and time for locomotion than LD rats, as assessed by open-field testing; no effects were found relative to controls. Autoradiography analyses showed that HD Δ9-THC significantly decreased CB1R binding relative to LD Δ9-THC in the cingulate (33%), primary motor (42%), secondary motor (33%) somatosensory (38%), rhinal (38%), and auditory (50%) cortices; LD Δ9-THC rats displayed elevated binding in the primary motor (33% increase) and hypothalamic (33% increase) regions compared with controls. No significant differences were observed in MOR binding for the LD or HD compared to the control. Significance: These results demonstrate that chronic Δ9-THC dose-dependently altered CB1R levels throughout the brain and locomotor activity in the open field.
Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have contributed to a decline in cancer deaths. However, serious cardiotoxic side effects have been reported. Autoimmunity against cardiac proteins has been suspected but the underlying mechanism is unknown. First, mice were treated with ICIs and displayed myocardial inflammation and contractile dysfunction. Afterwards, antigenic sequences were identified in cardiac proteins by bioinformatic analyses. Finally, the sequences with the highest antigenicity scores were tested against sera from ICI-treated mouse models and patients. ICIs were observed to induce the most immune reactive antibodies against certain peptides of cardiac troponin I. These data suggest a novel mechanism of ICI-induced cardiotoxicity, which warrants further investigation.
Negative mental health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have disproportionately affected racial and ethnic minority individuals and communities. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a well-established for improving mental health outcomes, but ethnic and racial minority groups are severely underrepresented. The purpose of this qualitative analysis was to explore Black adults' experiences with participating in a videoconference-delivered MBSR intervention. Braun and Clarke's Reflexive Thematic Analysis method was used for data analysis. A total of 15 individual interviews were included. The videoconference method of delivery was well accepted. Advantages recognized by participants included (1) being able to share experiences group setting while being comfortable in their own space (2) noticing unexpected positive changes in physical, mental, social, and spiritual health, (3) realizing the importance of daily practice, and (4) committing to taking time for themselves without feeling guilty. Delivering MBSR via videoconferencing for Black adults is feasible and is recommended by participants.
Symptom exacerbation is the primary cause of high healthcare utilization and economic burden in patients with the chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and pulmonary hypertension. This study aims to generate evidence about cardiopulmonary patients' mindfulness knowledge and their relationship with burdensome symptoms of anxiety and dyspnea.
This study used a cross-sectional survey study design and analyzed the data using Wilcoxon rank-sum tests to compare differences in symptom severity between participants who practice or do not practice mindfulness and between those who did or did not learn how to practice mindfulness.
There were statistically significant differences in breathlessness (p=.0001) and anxiety (p=0.0236) between those with or without mindfulness knowledge. There were statistically significant differences in breathlessness (p=.0001) and anxiety (p=0.0107) between those with or without mindfulness practice.
Successful integration of mindfulness practice across the healthcare system as routine complementary treatment could reduce the economic burden by decreasing hospitalizations due to symptom exacerbation.
Background/Purpose: Older adults with memory problems experiencing social isolation during the initial months of the Covid-19 pandemic may have been more vulnerable to emotional distress than those without memory problems. Little is known about the effect of social isolation on this vulnerable population. The purpose of this study was to identify whether older adults with self-reported memory problems were more negatively impacted compared to those without memory problems. Theoretical Framework: Pearlin's Stress Model has four concepts related to depression and anxiety: background, primary stressor, secondary strain, and outcomes. The background included age, gender, and cognitive impairment. The primary stressor being the Covid-19 pandemic and secondary strain was sleep along with loss of social interactions (life space). The outcomes included depression and stress of older adults with memory problems. Methods: An online anonymous survey was conducted to assess levels of depression (no/yes), stress (high, moderate, low), sleep duration (<7 hours, >7.1 hours), and life space (high/low) during the initial months of the pandemic. A snowball approach was used for recruitment of adults aged 60 and older through email lists of university alumni and community senior organizations. Results:A total of 502 older adults, 388 female and 113 males, with age ranging from 65 to 93 years, participated in the survey. A total number of 35 respondents (7%) self-reported having memory problems. The participants with memory problems were older (Mean=78 years compared to 75 years), more depressed (31.4% compared to 8.6%), and were more stressed (62.9% compared to 34.7% with moderate/high levels) than those without memory problems. Conclusions & Implications:These findings suggest that many older adults with memory problems experienced more stress and depressive symptoms during the initial months of the pandemic. Surprisingly, there was no statistical difference in sleep or life space among the participants with and without memory problems. Future studies should focus on a larger population of older adults with memory problems and more accurate assessment tools in order to measure and determine the longer-term impact of the pandemic on these vulnerable members of our community.
Acute postoperative pain has significant impacts on patient recovery, patient satisfaction, and healthcare costs. Therefore, mishandling of this pain leads to dire health consequences. To properly manage acute postoperative pain, accurate pain assessment is crucial. Current literature dictates using multidimensional pain scales (MDPS) to effectively capture the complexities of the pain experience. Yet, unidimensional pain scales (UDPS) are primarily used to assess acute postoperative pain. This Doctor of Nursing (DNP) project qualitatively examined current acute postoperative pain assessment among clinicians, primarily nurses. Kolcaba's Comfort Theory served as the framework for this study as it aids assessment of pain on multiple dimensions in harmony with MDPS and evidenced-based practice. The aim was to determine if clinicians are augmenting UDPS with other dimensions of MDPS to ensure effective pain therapy and true comfort. Study objectives were to 1) conduct a comprehensive literature review examining MDPS and UDPS and their respective pain domains; 2) construct a standardized survey incorporating the different pain domains and methods applied when treating and assessing pain; 3) analyze data and summarize findings; 4) present study results to administration and provide evidenced-based recommendations. Reflexive thematic analysis and a quantitative descriptive approach was used to analyze data. Survey results proved that clinicians assess pain on multiple dimensions, but not equally. Thus, there is a need for standardized and reliable MDPS for acute pain for improved pain management.
A recently released study found that 2.55 million U.S. middle and high school students reported current (past 30-day) use of e-cigarettes in 2022. The purpose of this study is to investigate adolescents' perceptions of e-cigarette cessation intervention. We used a descriptive qualitative study design and recruited 20 adolescents who had used e-cigarette products in the past 30 days. The average age of participants was 16.5 years old, with 85% being male. Adolescents wanted to learn about e-cigarettes, particularly, about the consequences of e-cigarette use. They wanted to have intervention modes that they can engage in. 70% of participants thought that pictures or videos can be helpful, and 40% of them prefer emails, text messages, or smartphone apps. In addition, 40 % chose to do individual intervention sessions. The findings of this study will inform researchers and practitioners to develop and provide effective interventions targeted at adolescents.
Hsuan Ping Chang
Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) is renowned as a novel generation of cancer therapeutics owing to the specificity of monoclonal antibodies to deliver the cytotoxic payloads at the target antigen. Different physicochemical properties such as hydrophobicity, solubility, size, and charge of antibodies have been shown to alter systemic and tumor pharmacokinetics (PK) of ADCs. It has been revealed that increasing the positive charge of the variable region (Fv) can enhance tumor distribution of antibodies. However, investigation of the charge effect on monoclonal antibodies conjugated with cytotoxic payloads remains elusive. In this study, we aim to evaluate the distribution and efficacy of ADCs made with positively charged antibodies after a given dose. A positive charge variant of anti-HER2 antibody with a +5 charge in the Fv domain is used to produce ADCs with positive charge, while control ADC is produced using trastuzumab. In vitro and in vivo experiments are performed to evaluate the PK and efficacy of the ADCs using antigen negative MDA-MB-468 and antigen positive N87 cells. The samples are quantified using sandwich ELISA and liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry for the analysis of total antibody, unconjugated payload, and conjugated payload. From the data, we would infer if the ADCs made from antibodies engineered to possess positive charge patches in the variable region demonstrate better efficacy compared to the ADCs made from the parent antibody.
Jeanine Day and Jason Dey
Cisplatin is known to promote debilitating ototoxicity. The monocarboxylate transporter, MCT6, may be a regulator of this adverse event. We hypothesize that a N-acetylcysteine S-conjugate metabolite of cisplatin (NAC-1) is an ototoxic molecule that accumulates intracellularly through MCT6.
Oxidative stress biomarkers are increased in multiple sclerosis (MS) lesions. Antioxidant defense enzymes regulate reactive oxygen species that cause tissue injury in MS. The study of 91 subjects included 64 relapsing-remitting MS (RR-MS) and 27 healthy controls (HC) subjects at baseline and 5-year follow-up (5YFU). Serum glutathione peroxidase (GPX), glutathione S-transferase (GST), glutathione reductase (GSHR), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and paraoxonase-1 (PON1) arylesterase and paraoxonase activities were measured. Total (TC), high-density (HDL-C) and low- density (LDL-C) lipoprotein cholesterol, an apolipoprotein (Apo) panel (ApoA-I, ApoA-II, ApoB, ApoC-II and ApoE), and serum neurofilament (sNfL) levels were obtained. GSHR activity was lower in HC vs. RR-MS at baseline and 5YFU. GPX (p=0.008) and PON1 arylesterase and paraoxonase activities (both p=0.05) increased between baseline and 5YFU in HC but did not increase in RR-MS. GPX and GST were associated with TC, LDL-C, and ApoA-II; GSHR was associated with ApoA-II and ApoC-II. RR-MS patients did not exhibit the changes in antioxidant enzyme activities over 5YFU in HC. Antioxidants enzymes activities were not associated with sNfL or EDSS in RR- MS. Antioxidant enzyme activities are not associated with disability in MS.
In Situ Photo Vaccination (ISPV) is a strategy to generate in vivo cancer vaccine without its prior isolation and identification. PDT is tool for ISPV control of treated tumor produce systemic antitumor effect by activating immune response. This immune response translated for clinically significant benefits and durable response with Check point inhibitors. Triple negative breast cancer is a serious problem amongst women and cancer are inoperable. Therefore, ideal treatment regime of chemotherapy and check point inhibitors used as standard care of treatment. However, poor response rate by both limits therapeutic output. In our hypothesis, we design hypothesis of combining PDT+CBIs (Checkpoint Blockage Inhibitors) as alternative treatment strategy. We observed pilot results showed promise of our strategy.
Gene editing in brain cells, and my main part is to analyze pictures of mouse brains.
The Organic Anion Transporting Polypeptide 1B1 (OATP1B1) protein is one of the most abundant and pharmacologically relevant hepatic transporters and is responsible for drug elimination. Recently OATP1B1 has been identified to be sensitive to post-translational modifications, including tyrosine phosphorylation, that are associated with transport function, however it remains unknown where these events occur during protein development and maturation. To clarify this event, we first isolated OATP1B1 from different subcellular compartments in Human Embryonic Kidney 293 cells (HEK 293) that overexpress the transporter (and conjugated to a flag-tag), in order to measure where protein abundance can is located. OATP1B1 abundance in compartment extracts was analyzed by Western Blot using a Flag primary antibody. The subcellular fractionation showed that OATP1B1 is localized and expressed in the cell membrane of the HEK293 cells overexpressing OATP1B1. Future studies will involve measuring tyrosine phosphorylation status of the transporter in these subcellular compartments
Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) is renowned as a novel generation of cancer therapeutics owing to the specificity of monoclonal antibodies to deliver the cytotoxic payloads at the target antigen. Different physicochemical properties such as hydrophobicity, solubility, size, and charge of antibodies have been shown to alter systemic and tumor pharmacokinetics (PK) of ADCs. It has been revealed that increasing the positive charge of the variable region (Fv) can enhance tumor distribution of antibodies. However, investigation of the charge effect on monoclonal antibodies conjugated with cytotoxic payloads remains elusive. In this study, we aim to evaluate the distribution and efficacy of ADCs made with positively charged antibodies after a given dose. A positive charge variant of anti-HER2 antibody with a +5 charge in the Fv domain is used to produce ADCs with positive charge, while control ADC is produced using trastuzumab. In vitro and in vivo experiments are performed to evaluate the PK and efficacy of the ADCs using antigen negative MDA-MB-468 and antigen positive N87 cells. The samples are quantified using sandwich ELISA and liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry for the analysis of total antibody, unconjugated payload, and conjugated payload. From the data, we would infer if the ADCs made from antibodies engineered to possess positive charge patches in the variable region demonstrate better efficacy compared to the ADCs made from the parent antibody.
Background: In patients (pts) with relapsed/refractory (R/R) diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL), salvage chemotherapy regimens (e.g., rituximab, ifosfamide, carboplatin, and etoposide, R-ICE) yield poor outcomes. Carfilzomib (CFZ), an irreversible proteasome inhibitor, can overcome acquired rituximab-chemotherapy resistance and, when combined with R-ICE, improves outcomes in pts with R/R DLBCL. This analysis aims to develop a population pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) model for CFZ in R/R DLBCL pts. Methods: In this single-center, open-label, prospective phase 1 study (NCT01959698), pts received CFZ (10, 15, or 20 mg/m2) on Days 1, 2, 8, and 9, and standard doses of R-ICE on Days 3-6 q21day (maximum of 3 cycles). CFZ plasma concentrations up to 24 h post infusion were measured by LC-MS/MS. Proteasome activity (PD biomarker) in peripheral blood mononuclear cells was assessed on Days 1-2 with sparse sampling. PK/PD models were developed using FOCEI in NONMEM 7.4 interfaced with Finch Studio and PsN 4.7.0. Model selection was guided by objective function value, goodness‐of‐fit, and visual predictive checks. Stepwise covariate modeling was used for covariate selection. Results: 28 patients were enrolled in the PK/PD analysis from whom 217 PK samples and 127 PD samples were included. CFZ PK was best described by a 2-compartment model with linear disposition. Proteasome activity was best characterized using a turnover model with irreversible inactivation. All parameters were estimated with good precision. No statistically significant covariates were identified. Conclusion: A population-based PK/PD model of carfilzomib, which was successfully developed and validated, may be suitable for future individualization of carfilzomib dosing in this patient population.
Small molecule therapeutics have long been an important treatment for many diseases and are still growing strong despite the emergence of protein therapeutics and gene therapies. Among the diseases, cancer is the most notable one with currently very few affordable treatments. In this study, newly synthesized Acridone and Carbazole derivatives were tested for their cytotoxicity on various cancer cell lines to examine their antitumor effect. For experiments, the MTT cytotoxicity assay was utilized on MCF7, Calu-3, SCC-25, and MCF10A cell lines, and the concentration of tested samples were ranging from 100-0.01 uM. It is found that the semisynthetic compounds show a better cytotoxic effect compares to that of the original compounds extracted. Overall, the new compounds have shown potential for antitumor usage, but they need to be further optimized to be a good drug candidate.
Cigarette smoking is common among people with substance use disorders (SUDs). While numerous studies demonstrate an association between smoking and SUDs, it is not known if this relationship extends to people participating in traditional drug treatment (tDTC) or opioid intervention courts (OIC) Method: We used preliminary data from the baseline survey of the HEROIC (Health Evaluation of the Results of Opioid Intervention Court) study, a longitudinal study of tDTC and OIC clients that is currently in the recruitment phase (n = 111). We defined current substance use to include non-medical use of prescription drugs (NMUPD), illicit drug use, and hazardous drinking. Results: Compared to tDTC clients, OIC court clients had greater odds of concurrent smoking and singular NMUPD, poly-NMUPD (ps < .001), and singular/poly illicit drug use (ps <.001). Conclusion: Overall, OIC court clients had greater odds of concurrent smoking and substance use than tDTC court clients.
Objective: We aimed to develop and evaluate the construct validity of a dietary pattern predictive of plasma trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) and choline concentrations. Methods: Dietary data and plasma concentrations of choline (μmol/L) and TMAO (μmol/L) were assessed in 1,724 women who participated in an ancillary study within the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study (1993-1998). The dietary pattern was developed using reduced rank regression (RRR) in half of the sample, and applied to the other half to evaluate its construct validity. In each sample, ANCOVA models assessed associations between each biomarker and the dietary pattern score. Results: Fat, potatoes, and meat were positively associated with the dietary pattern, while yogurt, fruits, and sugar were inversely associated. Mean biomarker concentrations increased across increasing quartiles of the dietary pattern in each sample. Conclusions: We established a dietary pattern reflecting the potential of diet to contribute to plasma concentrations of TMAO and choline.
Introduction: The Duffy-null CC genotype of the DARC gene (rs2814778), which confers protection from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, is present in ~ 70% of US Blacks. Given that DARC is a determinant of certain pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, and breast tumors from Black women have high levels of CD8+ T cells with exhausted phenotypes, we investigated if DARC genotype may influence CD8+ T cell density in Black women. Methods: Tissue microarrays of breast tumors from 428 Black women with incident primary breast cancer were immunohistochemically stained for CD8+ T cells and evaluated in relation to DARC genotype. Multivariable linear regression models assessed associations between genotypes and log-transformed CD8+ T cell density, with adjustment for age, hormone receptor status, and tumor stage, grade, and size. Results: Homozygous Duffy-null (CC) was the major genotype (67.5%) among these women; homozygous wildtype TT genotype was present in 4.7%. CD8+ T cell densities were lowest in CC genotypes (median: 87.0 per mm2) and highest in TT genotypes (146.6). Furthermore, compared to CC genotypes, log-transformed CD8+ T cell densities were highest in TT (Beta: 0.93 [95% CI: 0.08, 1.78]) and TC/TT (0.40 [0.02, 0.78]) genotypes. Each wildtype T allele was associated with a significant additive increase in log-transformed density (0.38 [0.07, 0.69]). Conclusions: Breast tumors from Black women with wildtype T alleles had significantly higher CD8+ T cell densities than homozygous Duffy-null, suggesting that Duffy-null alleles may not promote tumor immune cell infiltration.
Background: Body mass index (BMI) is frequently criticized as a poor measure of true obesity status. Using self-report height and weight to quantify BMI status may compound issues related to measurement error. However, self-report BMI can be cost-effectively obtained in large epidemiological studies. The purpose of this research was to compare self-report and measured BMI across different demographic groups (sex, age, race/ethnicity) and to quantify the amount of bias introduced by using self-report BMI. Methods: Adults 40 and older who participated in NHANES waves 1999-2012 were included (N= 21,928). Means and corresponding 95% CIs were calculated for both self-report and measured height, weight, and BMI estimates. The amount of bias between self-report and measured anthropometric estimates were determined by calculating the difference between self-report and measured BMI. Sensitivity (Se), specificity (Sp), and positive and negative predictive values (PPV, NPV) were calculated for each sex, race, and age group. Results: Across all races/ethnicities, older women had the greatest bias result from using self-report vs. measured BMI (mean range: -0.70, -1.06). Older individuals overestimated their height more than younger individuals, regardless of race or sex. Younger women of all races/ethnicities had the greatest bias (under-estimation) between self-report vs. measured weight. The amount of bias present varied by BMI category and demographic group (sensitivity range: 0.81 to 0.99; specificity range: 0.73 to 0.95). Conclusion: Overall sensitivity and specificity scores were high across groups but did vary by BMI and demographic group. These results provide estimates of bias parameter values that can be used in future research to adjust self-report BMI data and generate corrected estimates using quantitative bias analysis techniques.
Background: Whether Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) use is associated with primary cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains uncertain. Methods: Systematic searches were conducted in the MEDLINE and EMBASE databases up to September 2022. Studies that assessed incident myocardial infarction (MI), incident ischemic stroke (IS), or CVD mortality were included. Hazard ratios (HR) and their 95% confidence intervals (CI) were abstracted, combined estimates were calculated using the random-effects model. Results: Compared to non-use, PPI use was associated with 30% higher risk of incident MI (HR: 1.30, 95%CI: 1.10-1.53) and 15% higher risk of CVD mortality (HR: 1.15, 95%CI: 1.05-1.26). However, there was no significant association with incident IS (HR: 1.05, 95%CI: 0.91-1.22). Conclusion: The findings suggest PPI use is associated with higher risk of incident MI and CVD mortality. However, this should be interpreted with caution given the considerable heterogeneity among published studies and potential residual confounding.
Background and Aim: Cardiovascular health of long-term exposure to noise and air pollution has been examined worldwide while few studies have been conducted in U.S. especially in aging population. We examined the effects of community noise and traffic air pollution exposures on incidences of cardiovascular (CVD) and neurological diseases in older adults. Methods: We constructed a cohort comprising Medicare beneficiaries aged over 65 years in New York state from 2000 to 2018. Annual mean nitrogen dioxides (NO2) and noise exposures combining road traffic and aviation sources were estimated using advanced geo-statistical models and assigned to the participants according to their ZIP-code of residence. We applied Cox proportional hazards models to examine the associations of exposure to community noise and NO2 with incidences of CVD and its subtypes, depression, and Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD), adjusting for potential confounders. Results: Of 742,366 participants, 38% developed their first CVD and 7% and 9% had new ADRD and depression during 9.3 years mean follow-up. Community noise exposure (per 25 dB) was significantly associated with increased hazard ratio (HR) of ADRD (1.047, 95%CI: 1.023, 1.073) and overall CVD incidences (1.092, 95% CI: 1.079, 1.105) including its subtypes (ischemic heart disease: 1.099, 95%CI: 1.086, 1.113; heart failure: 1.079, 95%CI: 1.064, 1.095; stroke: 1.116, 95%CI: 1.095, 1.137), but not with depression, acute myocardial infraction and atrial fibrillation, after mutual adjustment for NO2 exposure. Conclusion: Long-term exposure to community noise and traffic air pollution are associated with increased risks of CVD and ADRD in older adults, with noise effects being dominant.
Calista-Mehitabel Okine and Kayli Reynolds
Industrial workers in the construction and mining industry often experience chronic exposure to manganese (Mn) fumes. Chronic occupational exposure to high levels of Mn has serious implications for the CNS as it produces symptoms akin to that of Parkinson's disease referred to as Manganism. Further exposure to Mn can result in damaging effects on important structures within the auditory system, such as auditory nerve cells and cochlear hair cells. To simulate real-world exposures of Mn toxicity which occurs through inhalation, we are investigating the effect of Mn fumes and its implication on cell death signaling pathways using a mouse auditory hair cell line HEI-OC1 and rodent models. Further, we characterized the particle size and dispersion of Mn aerosols of different flow rates using scanning electron microscopy with x-ray microanalysis to analyze their effects on a cellular level.
Karim Belal and Nicholas Kemmis
Injury risk assessment is a critical activity to identify those at greater risk of injury and inform practitioners about intervention effectiveness to reduce injury risk during sports. The Landing Error Scoring System (LESS) is a field expedient assessment of lower extremity injury risk whereby a human grades 16 aspects of movement behavior as subjects land from a jump (Pryor et al., 2017; Padua et al., 2009). Critics of the LESS cite that it relies on humans to identify dysfunctional movement behavior to establish the risk for injury (Hanzlíková, et al., 2020). Therefore, individual variation, expertise, reliability, subjectivity, and sensitivity of human graders are legitimate concerns for accurate readings. To address these weaknesses and add kinetic and objective kinematic data to the LESS, we propose adding a linear positional transducer (LPT) to the jump-landing task. Employing an LPT as a potential tool to add to the identification of injury risk is a novel idea. Because we are the first to explore this potential use, we must identify where the LPT should be to elicit the highest reliability during the jump-landing task.
Neuroblastoma is a deadly pediatric cancer of the developing sympathetic nervous system. MYCN amplification is detected in 40-50% of high-risk cases and is associated with poorly differentiated tumors, poor patient prognosis, and poor response to standard-of-care therapies, including retinoic acid. Here, we identify the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) as a transcription factor that promotes the growth and suppresses differentiation of MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma. Transcriptional analysis reveals an inverse correlation of AhR with patient outcome, suggesting that AhR activity is critical for disease progression. AhR reduces chromatin accessibility to regions responsive to retinoic acid. Importantly, AhR antagonism with clofazimine, an FDA-approved drug used in children, synergizes with retinoic acid to induce differentiation in vitro and in vivo. Thus, we propose AhR as a novel target in MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma and suggest that its antagonism, in combination with standard-of-care, may result in a more durable response in patients.
Abhisha Gurudas Sawant Dessai
Metabolism and gene transcription, the two major biological processes that define a cell's identity and cell fate, are intertwined with one another. Metabolites synthesized by mitochondrial enzymes impact how chromatin-modifying enzymes modulate the accessibility of transcription factors to bind to a certain genomic region. Histone acetylation enhances chromatin accessibility using acetyl-CoA, which is mainly synthesized in mitochondria and cytosol for ATP and lipid synthesis. How the nucleus maintains its own acetyl-CoA pool for gene transcription is not clearly understood. Through a biochemical screen, we discovered that certain mitochondrial enzymes, such as aconitase (ACO2) and isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH2), are localized in the nucleus. Depletion of these enzymes, ACO2 or IDH2, significantly reduced histone acetylation levels. Using an isolated nucleus system, we discovered ACO2 and IDH2 generate citrate, a precursor of acetyl-CoA synthesis, through reductive carboxylation of glutamine-derived alpha-ketoglutarate. This novel nuclear-specific metabolic pathway also affects broad chromatin accessibility and gene transcription.
Cancer immunotherapies have revolutionized the field of cancer research and treatment. However, in many cases, immunotherapies, such as adoptive T-cell therapy (ACT), fail to generate effective and durable responses for cancer patients creating the need for new strategies. One mechanism limiting therapy impact is the suppressive stroma surrounding tumors, which can prevent T-cells from effectively reaching tumor cells. Therefore, approaches concurrently targeting both the tumor and the supporting stroma are likely to enhance the impact of ACT. To this end, we have developed a strategy to 'multi-arm' T cells using retroviral vectors. Using this technique, T cells are engineered to i) express a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) to target cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) present in the tumor stroma and ii) secrete a bispecific T-cell engager (BiTE) to target tumor cells. Here, we study the therapeutic activity of multi-armed T-cells compared to T-cells engineered with a single CAR of BITE.
Numeracy is the ability to understand mathematical information. Numbers and statistics can be used to communicate the dangers of using tobacco products to the public. In this study, we explored how numeracy is related to risk understanding (and salience) and decision making around tobacco use.
Chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) cell therapy has demonstrated remarkable clinical success in patients with advanced hematologic malignancies including leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma (MM). Despite initially promising responses, a subset of patients will ultimately relapse. The CAR is composed of a synthetic T cell activation domain (CD3ζ) as well as a co-stimulatory domain (CD28 or 4-1BB) resulting in CAR-T cell activation following target antigen recognition. Despite reliance on the engineered receptor, there is an increased appreciation for the role of native T cell receptors, including CD28, in CAR-T cell function and persistence. Herein we demonstrate that genetic deletion or blockade of the native CD28 receptor impairs the ability of 4-1BBζ CAR-T cells to elicit tumor control in an orthotopic MM model. Preliminary results suggest that native CD28 prolongs CAR-T cell proliferation and is required for sustained glycolytic and mitochondrial metabolism which are critical factors in achieving durable anti-tumor immunity.
BZDs are a family of well-known drugs including Xanax® (alprazolam, ALP) and Ativan® (lorazepam, LOR) that are prescribed to ~30% of cancer patients to treat anxiety, nausea, and insomnia. Clinically, we found that LOR is associated with worse progression-free (PFS) survival in patients with pancreatic cancer. However, ALP was associated with improved PFS. Using a mouse model of pancreatic cancer, we found that LOR increases inflammation, collagen deposition, tumor necrosis, and interleukin-6 (IL-6) secretion by cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFS). Based on the structure of the BZD, we could predict how a BZD would alter CAF-mediated IL-6 secretion. LOR and structurally similar BZDs have the unique ability to bind GPR68, increasing IL-6 signaling. ALP and structurally similar BZDs significantly decrease IL-6, in a GPR68-independent manner. In summary, this is the first study to find that BZDs can influence cancer patient survival outcomes and modify IL-6 signaling based on BZD structure.
UB Capstone, which is a course for all students who are ready to graduate, requires students to finish a portfolio that reflects on what they have learned and could be able to apply in their work and life in the future. The entire portfolio contains About Me, Foundation, Pathway, Learning Reflection from different courses across my undergraduate career. I picked different courses that impacted my style of working and helped me grow as a more well-rounded individual. I am most proud of my Foundations section because I revisited the essential skills I learned in Foundations classes, which were interviewing real-life people and professional writing skills for my future career. The skills that I acquired from the Foundations classes at UB impacted my working style and will stay with me throughout my career.
Showcasing my capstone to faculty and students.
My Senior Curriculum Capstone ePortfolio is a reflective piece of work which highlights how my foundation courses prepared me for success in future classes, as well as my experiences outside the classroom that helped me become a well-rounded individual. My portfolio also includes an account of my struggles and how I learned from them, including the steps I took to overcome them.
A journey of growth through my eyes at the University of Buffalo
My ePortfolio details my academic experiences and growth throughout my four years at UB. I talk about what drew me to this university and how I was able to navigate adjusting to a new environment, both academically and physically. I make connections between my courses and how they translated to outside of the classroom. I discuss the ups and downs throughout my academic journey and where they have led me to this day. This assignment allowed me to show my growth as both a student and an individual.